Governor: Texas should move to online textbooks

Texas Gov. Rick Perry proposed April 7 that his state abandon using traditional textbooks in public schools and replace them with computer technology, BusinessWeek reports. “I don’t see any reason in the world why we need to have textbooks in Texas in the next four years. Do you agree?” Perry asked participants at a computer gaming education conference in Austin. Paper textbooks get out of date quickly, Perry said, sometimes even before they reach the classroom—whereas using computer software to teach students allows the curriculum to be updated almost instantly. “There’s obviously opposition [to switching to totally computerized material], but there’s always opposition to change,” Perry said. He said he wants to explore the proposal when the Legislature meets in 2011. Rep. Mark Strama, an Austin Democrat who also attended the gaming conference held at the Advanced Micro Devices campus, said he’s interested in pursuing that goal as well. He said state lawmakers took a step in that direction last year by allowing schools to spend textbook money on electronic instructional materials. Strama also said he sees a move away from textbooks as an opportunity to ensure that all children have access to computers. “This is the way to solve the digital divide problem for children who don’t have access to technology at home, because if every child is getting something like an iPad or a tablet [computer] that has all their instructional content on it, it also is something they can use for other purposes when they’re at home,” he said…

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