Electronic textbooks proposed for Texas schools - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/8/10

Electronic textbooks proposed for Texas schools

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Technology is always changing and so is the way your kids learn.

At a computer gaming education conference on Wednesday, Governor Rick Perry proposed Texas should adopt electronic textbooks instead of traditional printed ones in the next four years. He said traditional textbooks become outdated quickly.

State Board Education member Bob Craig agrees this is the direction the State should move, but isn't positive we can make the switch that quickly and thinks the state needs to address issues like cost and home accessibility. "I support the concept without question. I think it's good, but as we transition we need to make sure we do it right. We need to make sure all of our students have access so that we leave nobody behind," says Craig.

Lubbock-Cooper I.S.D. Textbook Coordinator, Will Truby, thinks the 4-year goal may be a little ambitious.

Both L.I.S.D. and L.C.I.S.D. say because you can't give every student Internet access at home, they feel the future lies in handheld readers so students can download material at school to take home with them.  This brings up the issue of cost.  "The idea to us is a wonderful idea.  We would love to have that as an option.  Financially there are some major concerns," said Truby.

He estimates electronic readers would cost about $500 for each of their 1,600 middle and high school students.  That would total about $800,000.  "It's the start up cost that is the scary part of this whole deal," said Truby.  He thinks it will take about 10 years to make the transition.

L.I.S.D. feels a little more confident about the 4-year timeline, but they share many of Lubbock-Cooper's concerns.  "That creates a new set of problems in terms of liability and maintenance of those handheld computers," said L.I.S.D. Chief Academic Officer, Kelly Trlica.

It will be a daunting task for districts across the state to close the current chapter of hardback education, but they are excited for new opportunities.

"The future is in handheld.  It will have online access, and that opens up the world to resources for the classroom," said Trlica.

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