Beyond Textbooks

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.

They included:

  • 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.

Nick Sauers

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