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How Digital Textbooks Increase Flexibility in the Classroom

How Digital Textbooks Increase Flexibility in the Classroom
Jesse Bluma at Pointe Viven. All rights reserved.

Digital textbooks, or electronic books, offer bold possibilities in education.  Digital technology has the possibility of being more interactive, more diverse, and less expensive than hardcover books.  (Less expensive if the state, school board, or school officials can negotiate a reasonable price).  Senate Bill 185, authored by Senator Mimi Walters, opened up barriers that once prohibited school district and charter school officials from negotiating with companies for digital books.  

Mimi Walters stated, "The need for digital textbooks and other on-line tools is especially critical in lower-revenue districts that are too often at a disadvantage in comparison to higher-revenue districts.  She pointed out that SB 185 will enable these school districts to use technology to address the specific academic needs of each student more directly.

SB 185

"Specifies school districts, county offices of education, charter schools are not restricted from negotiating the price of standards-aligned instructional materials and supplemental materials in a printed and digital format.  Requires such materials that meet specified requirements to be offered by a publisher or manufacturer as unbundled elements.  Authorizes a district to use materials in a digital format that were purchased by the district to create a districtwide online digital database for classroom use."

Senator Walters has a family of her own and began her career in government on the Laguna Niguel city council.  Prior to her civil service she worked as a stock broker.  I interned on her mayoral race and helped on her Assembly race.  I recently commented to Senator Walters that SB 185 was a good start to diversifying curriculum in the state.

Unfortunately, SB 185 requires the digital format of instructional material to be aligned with the Common Core standards.  Almost every piece of legislation has its down side, and this is one.  The price tag for Common Core and claims made by some of its proponents are of no positive step for students and teachers.  Mimi Walters appreciated what I had to say on the subject.

Do you have any digital book recommendations?  
Please share your thoughts and book selections.

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