DiigoNotes - Texas should move to online textbooks

One of the great benefits of online textbooks is how easy they are to change, to adapt to reflect information that is constantly changing. But what happens when those who decide what information goes into the textbooks is biased? You'd hope that online textbooks, available to all constituencies, would be free from the bias that arises. Or, if bias is to exist, that it would be freely shared so that readers would be aware and know.

Bias and misinformation are a real danger when you consider the games that some are playing in deciding what goes and what stays in Texas textbooks.

So, when the Governor votes for online textbooks, as cited in the Associated Press article below, you'll have to forgive my healthy skepticism as a Texas voter. And, though I support online textbooks, I'm concerned about the lack of infrastructure in inner city school districts. I still remember my walk into one student's house, no furniture in evidence, twin mattresses cast upon the floor without sheets. It was a sobering look at the challenges our poverty-stricken students face. As I sit here typing on my computer, I would be a foolish to think others enjoyed the same benefits I do. Is it possible that in our rush to embrace technology, we are failing our poorest students and siphoning precious funding to the wrong cause...all so we can push our religious, cultural, yuppy, you name it, values on people who can barely afford their own?
    • The Associated Press April 7, 2010, 5:13PM ET
    • Governor: Texas should move to online textbooks

    • Gov. Rick Perry proposed Wednesday that Texas abandon using traditional textbooks in public schools and replace them with computer technology.

      "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    • Paper textbooks get out of date quickly, Perry said, sometimes even before they reach the classroom. He noted that since he took office in 2000, some schools have used textbooks saying Ann Richards was governor. She served from 1991-95.

      Perry said using computer software to teach students allows the curriculum to be updated almost instantly and said children learn through technology, including math computer games.

    • Perry said
    • the switch would have to be done cost effectively and that he didn't yet know whether such a move would save money. The governor said he wants to explore the proposal when the Legislature meets in 2011.
    • "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," Strama said.
    • He repeated his suggestion that high school-age teens be required to be enrolled in a traditional school or a "virtual" school online before they can get driver's licenses

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Comments

Adrianne Elayne said…
I agree Miguel - but at the same time are we not doing these students a disservice by not educating them on the use and benefit of common modern technology? I know with budget cuts and everything going on right now this seems like a pipe dream but would it not come out to a wash to purchase a laptop/netbook/tablet/whatever for every student instead of 5-8 textbooks.. In the long run? Of course, I also feel that we would need to find free or cheaper sources of textbooks if the publishers are going to expect districts to re-purchase a license every year.

Interesting first look at an e-book reader/netbook combo that runs on android:
http://www.eebsnews.com/textbooks.html

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