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Four keys to success with digital textbooks

By Laura Devaney, Managing Editor
March 7th, 2013

With certain considerations, schools can move to digital textbooks and tools.

Moving to digital textbooks is easier said than done—it takes months of planning, stakeholder buy-in, and perseverance. A new infographic from OnlineCollege.org pulls data from the Federal Communications Commission’s Digital Textbook Playbook to highlight important aspects of digital textbook implementation.

Each year, school districts spend $7 billion on textbooks, but most textbooks are 7-10 years old before they are replaced.

In a survey, 81 percent of teachers said they think tablets can enhance students’ learning. For example, laptops or tablets can use internet connectivity, interactive and personalized content, learning and video games, applications that encourage collaboration, and instant teacher and student feedback to boost engagement and understanding.

Here are four important needs when moving to digital textbooks:

1. Intensive planning and creating clear goals. Plans should be flexible and include content, infrastructure, maintenance, learning strategies, training requirements, and technical support.

2. Teacher training and involvement. Teachers should help plan the transition and should be involved in its implementation. They also should be encouraged and feel supported in identifying their own needs throughout the process.

(Next page: More keys to success)

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2 Responses to “Four keys to success with digital textbooks”

gyrhead
March 11, 2013

You also need to consider how students with inadequate Internet access outside of school will access digital materials that require an online connection. You may wish to consider resources such as iBooks and CK-12 content that do not require an active connection to access the majority of the content.

valeriechernek
March 11, 2013

If your U.S. students have print disabilities, you can also sign up for free membership to the Bookshare online library; a non-profit literacy program under Benetech. Access to digital books is free for schools and individuals who qualify. The library offers K-12 digital textbooks, literature, periodicals, reading technologies and a new organizing tool, Bookshelf to support multiple students with digital textbooks.