Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

12/11/2010

States Adopt Digital Textbooks–What Took Them So Long?


For the un-initiated (of which I was a member until very recently) many states have what they call adoption state review boards for approving educational and instructional materials/textbooks for use in their school systems.

Well, these ‘know-what’s-best-for-you’ review boards have finally begun to approve digital formatted textbooks as legitimate…primarily to save costs in this currently ruptured economy…but, hopefully, they also realize the new digital formats encourage student interaction and engagement with more complex content.

Cool insights from “Insights from the Editor” at Simba Media Intelligence:

In an effort to increase student engagement with content while decreasing spending on textbooks, adoption state review boards are incorporating digital programs into their strategy. According to 2010 National Textbook Adoption Scorecard and 2011 Outlook, a new report published by Simba Information, the lingering recession is pushing adoption boards to reconsider how they define the textbook in the 21st century.

Expanding the adoption process to include digital programs is a growing trend in the adoption states, first pioneered in West Virginia. Motivated by anticipated cost savings, various adoption boards have purchased more digital materials than in previous years; however, they have not yet begun to replace textbooks.

Quite often, there is confusion in the relationship between print textbooks and their digital counterparts. Some people incorrectly assume that they compete with each other, when in fact, they are the same product offered through a different medium.

Top publishers, such as Pearson’s enVisionMATH and Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt’s Journeys, offer a multimedia-formatted digital program that mixes a full digital path with print textbooks. Simba expects publishers to expand digital offerings, especially for reading, in their bids for Texas adoptions next year.

Next year may well be the strongest outlet for digital programs in textbook adoption states we will see.

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