A recent report released by the Virginia Department of Education captured the results of their Beyond Textbooks initiative which was aimed at replacing traditional textbooks in schools. The pilot took place in Virginia schools and the Apple iPad was selected as the device to use in place of textbooks. Most of the results of the study would align with the beliefs that many technology savvy educators hold.
- Supported individualized learning
- Increased student engagement
- Increased student independence and student collaboration (You may want to view the report if these claims seem contradictory to you.)
- Allowed teachers to become facilitators of learning
The same type of outcomes have been reported by many one-to-one educators. This project was a bit unique because various educational vendors contributed to the effort with their resources and skills. They produced products that they believed would be useful for the schools.
I routinely have conversations with one-to-one educators about moving away from the textbook to online resources. My argument is simply that they can find more relevant, current, and individualized resources online than any textbook currently provides. That would also mean they would have to help students become digitally literate. If schools truly stop purchasing textbooks, it would be interesting to see what the actual cost of going one-to-one would be.