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Ebooks to replace school textbooks?

by Scott Bicheno on 9 June 2009, 18:32

Tags: Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)

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Kindergarten Cop

We don't get to write about Arnold Schwarzenegger very much, or ever in fact, so please indulge us while we get some puns out of our system and then we can move on.

In a bid to terminate his budget deficit, California governor Schwarzenegger is saying "hasta la vista, baby" to paper textbooks in its schools. Writing in the San Jose Mercury, he insists students are just as likely to achieve total recall of the facts from digital textbooks at a fraction of a cost to the state.

"It's nonsensical - and expensive - to look to traditional hard-bound books when information today is so readily available in electronic form," wrote Schwarzenegger. "By frequently updating texts as they are developed, rather than continuing to teach from outdated textbooks, we will better prepare our students."

Visiting BETT at the start of the year, it was clear how much momentum there is behind technology uptake in the classroom, but this move sets a new precedent with respect to public sector endorsement of such a shift.

A wholesale move to this kind of technology will not only provide a boost for the providers of the hardware needed, like e-readers such as the recently launched Kindle DX, but for all the services and content needed to keep texts regularly updated in an orderly fashion.

Arnie has just launched this digital textbooks initiative and hopes to publish an initial review by this autumn. The rest of the developed world will be watching this experiment, which could set a precedent that will shake up education procurement dramatically.


HEXUS Forums :: 20 Comments

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I see it as the way forward, schools are becoming every more electronic and so the infrastructure is already in place to support this, the only question is can they stop the ebook readers from going walkabout? The only question is will the publishers go for it.
This is one area that I can see a significant advantage to ebooks. Text books are heavy, expensive to produce due to short production runs and very unweildy. You practically have to destroy them to make them stay open at one page for any length of time.

Although, to completely replace text books you would need full colour displays on the readers, and perhaps full Letter/A4/Legal displays as well.
Sounds like a great idea to me.
instead of having to carry tons of heavy books in your bag you just carry one small device that has multiple books stored on it.
People on the radio kept saying that this was a terrible idea, that children trying to study on laptops was a bad idea because they would be distracted. That, IMO, is rubbish because there is just as much to distract you from reading a textbook in the real world as there is reading it online.
Also, I had the idea of something like ‘StudyOS’, perhaps an extremely limited, locked-down version of Linux or something, that could help students focus.
ebooks != laptops

So the rest of their argument is redundant.