Wednesday, February 1, 2012

President Obama and Digital Textbooks

From Tom Caswell, SBCTC Policy Associate for Open Education:

Interesting article that made me wonder how we can prepare for students who soon enter our colleges expecting the same eTextbook options they will have in K-12. (This also represents a huge window of opportunity for open educational resources.)

Later today, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski will join Education Secretary Arne Duncan to unveil the Obama Administration's "Digital Textbook Playbook" to accelerate the K-12 transition to digital textbooks. USA Today has the scoop:

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski and Education Secretary Arne Duncan will recommend today at a summit of industry and education officials that states modify the textbook adoption process, allowing K-12 schools to use taxpayer funding once reserved for printed books on iPads, Kindles and the like — as well as software.

They'll begin pushing publishers, computer tablet makers and Internet service providers to work together and lower costs if they want to sell their products to the nation's 50 million school kids.

Administration officials say Web-connected instructional materials help students learn more efficiently and give teachers real-time information on how well kids understand material. "We spend $7 billion a year on textbooks, and for many students around the country, they're out of date," Genachowski says. In five years, he predicts, "we could be spending less as a society on textbooks and getting more for it."

Among the challenges the Obama Administration has identified: state textbook procurement rules, device and content interoperability, connectivity costs and managing the transition.

Full USA Today article "Obama wants schools to speed digital transition" at:

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