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E-textbooks may soon lessen a student's burden

Published: Saturday, Dec. 22 2012 1:20 p.m. MST

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Sugar City, ID

Someone should check on how much money is contributed to state legislators by the text book industry. This should have happened several years ago.

Provo, UT

In other words, we are going to shut down the U.S. printing industry and lose even more American jobs. Of course, it will create more jobs for China. America will likely be a third world country in another decade. Children don't need all the latest in tech. They need to spend time learning math, English, social studies, etc. I keep being told kids are so smart these days because they spend/waste hours on electronic gadgets. If they are so smart, why are do they score so poorly on standardized tests?

red state pride
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Let's do a cost analysis. If a traditional textbook costs 65.00 and a school uses it for 5 years (most schools use textbooks longer) then the cost per student per year is 13.00. If a school uses a book for 8 years which is pretty standard then the cost per student per year is 8.00. How much will publisher's charge per student for licensing and renewal of online textbooks? Significantly more I presume. Maybe the benefits would make the increased costs worthwhile. The world is definitely changing whether we like it or not but there are subjects that don't change significantly- math, literature/reading, history etc. I'm not saying it's a bad idea to switch to e-books- I'm saying it deserves a thorough cost-benefit analysis. I think blaming a lack of technology for the underperformance of our schools is whistling past the graveyard. Giving some knucklehead an ipad doesn't make him smarter- but it might make him richer when he sells it for ten cents on the dollar

Salt Lake City, UT

Nice to see that we are finally moving to something that should have been in place at least 5 years ago.

One of the worst parts about our education system is its lack of real innovation and the corrupt inefficiencies that are both a contributors to and a product of that failure to innovate. The reliance of heavy, static, costly text books is one of the best indicators of the corrupt relationship of publishing companies and education organizations for at least the last 20 years.

PA Rock Man
Allentown, PA

Not sure this switch will happen that quickly. At the University where I work, I offered a free e- text book to my students. They all chose to buy the $100 regular textbook. Part of the problem is publishers still don't know how to price digital material and the students are not willing to pay $80 for something they could not hold in their hands.

Casa Grande, AZ

Khan academy has math and science curriculum for free. They are probably very low cost for a whole school district to use.

So beware of any politicians saying they are "investing" large sums of money for online textbooks and curriculum.

Don't we pay the public education system enough to write and keep books and ebooks about subjects like math and science that don't actually change much for gradeschool? You don't have to outsource fifth grade curriculum creation when we are paying 100's of doctorate level teachers to be administrators. I'm sure many teachers would be happy to take a sabbatical for a year to help write and effective math ebook.

Politicians just need to let them and stop outsourcing to their goofy golf buddies.

Cedar City, UT


Industries come and go and move with times.
If it didn't we would still have the Pony Express, telegrams, and blacksmiths.
The trick is to ensure that the move in technology is supported by workers in this country.

Cedar City, UT

PA Rock Man

That is weird. Why would they spend $80 on a book when the e-book is free?

Burlington, WY

Bio-Optic Organizers of Knowledge (BOOKs) take many forms these days.

We live in a digital age and should be open to the best, most cost effective tools in education.

For learning, it may be an e-book. For cozy, sitting-by-the-fire enjoyment reading, it may be a good, old fashioned Gutenberg descendant.

The traditional textbook market is a racket that e-books should shake up.

Orem, UT

You think?

Powell, OH

Power goes out or gets low and the kids can't read the electronic stuff. Sounds nice - but it is a computer and when have you been to a computer presentation that they did not have problems?
Textbooks can be kept for years. Will you even be able to read or access these electronic files in 10 years?

Snowflake, AZ

Screwdriver - Khan Academy is good and free, but is not the answer. Khan Academy is a good resource, don't get me wrong. It still requires an increased investment in infrastructure. In our school rural school district we have tried to use this in classes, but it (YouTube) requires so much band width that we can't use it during school time.

Pittsburgh, PA

"Will you even be able to read or access these electronic files in 10 years?"

Dektol: Who reads their school textbook 10 years after you have taken the course?

USS Enterprise, UT

This is another bad thing for the education system. Yes it may make things cheaper, but it is not good for retention of the materials presented.

See "Do E-Books Make It Harder to Remember What You Just Read?" in Time. They found that "that people on paper started to ‘know’ the material more quickly over the passage of time,...It took longer and [required] more repeated testing to get into that knowing state [with the computer reading, but] eventually the people who did it on the computer caught up with the people who [were reading] on paper."

According to researchers, this is a bad thing in the long run fur the actual learning that goes in in schools.

Sugar City, ID

How about doing some primary research and conduct a poll among high school juniors and seniors and see how many ever read their history and government books? See how many are ever assigned to do homework from them. They lie, mostly untouched, along the walls. Look further into campaign contributions to legislators who get the committee assignments concerning school textbooks.

Mcallen, TX

The technology myth is costly, and not true.

Nothing beats paper,pencil, and a book.

SLC gal
Salt Lake City, UT

What is a kid more likely to do with a gadget? Play with it, app it out?

What is a kid more likely to do with a book? Ignore it?

And lets not underestimate the physical benefits... backpacks get heavy when you have five textbooks to lug home for homework.

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