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West Virginia asks counties to plan for electronic textbooks
State taking a two-year hiatus on buying social studies textbooks as it prepares for a shift to digital resources
The West Virginia Board of Education has suggested that all schools in the state start taking steps toward electronic textbooks and dependable ed-tech infrastructure for the future, state education department spokeswoman Liza Cordeiro said.
The state board of education recently implemented a two-year hiatus on the purchase of social studies textbooks, Cordeiro said. The money allocated for the books, roughly $36 million, instead will be spent on ed-tech infrastructure upgrades.
In encouraging a move toward electronic textbooks, West Virginia joins other states such as Florida, Texas, and Indiana.
Florida schools are preparing for a state-mandated shift from print to digital textbooks by 2015. Florida, Indiana, and Louisiana are among states that have added Discovery Education’s TechBook, a digital textbook for teaching K-8 science, to their list of approved core curriculum resources for this fall. And Texas recently passed a law that lets districts use state textbook money to buy digital materials.
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Complying with West Virginia’s suggestion, though Cordeiro said it is not a mandate, Monongalia County Schools will not purchase any new social studies textbooks this year, Superintendent Frank Devono said.
Last year, the district’s Suncrest Middle School received a two-year, roughly $500,000 grant from the state to implement a more personalized and interactive learning experience for its students by using educational technology, said Monongalia County Schools Technology Director Nancy Napolillo.