Thursday, September 27, 2012
Reimagining the K-12 Textbook in a Digital Age
State Leaders Stress Importance of Personalized Learning, Instructional Materials Innovation to Prepare Students for College, Careers
The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) released Out of Print: Reimagining the K-12 Textbook in a Digital Age. This report highlights the sea change underway in the multi-billion dollar U.S. K-12 instructional materials market enabled by recent technology and intellectual property rights innovations. With a focus on the ultimate impact on student learning, the report provides examples of lessons learned from recent digital and open content/open educational resources (OER) initiatives by leading states and school districts. It concludes by offering comprehensive recommendations for government, industry, and educators to ensure that the inevitable shift to digital instructional materials improves student achievement and engagement and efficiently uses scarce resources.
Given existing trends and the experiences of leading states and districts, the core recommendation of the SETDA report is that states and districts commit to beginning the shift from print to digital instructional materials with the next major "textbook" adoption cycle, completing the transition within the next five years (by no later than the 2017-18 school year).
“In a time of tight budgets and increasing expectations, many schools today purchase both print and digital instructional materials in a duplicative and uncoordinated fashion, with far too little attention to quality and value for money,” said Douglas Levin, SETDA executive director. “If the shift to digital instructional materials is not made immediately, major funding will continue to be directed to traditional materials that will tie the hands of students and educators to static, inflexible content for years to come. Only if education leaders act now, can they influence the reimagination of the K-12 textbook.”
Out of Print is a product of collaboration among state educational technology leaders, leading technology companies, publishers, and policy and practitioner experts committed to driving innovation in K-12 instructional materials. The numerous examples in the report of successful digital and open content initiatives highlight the dramatic opportunity before us to modernize a decades old approach to textbook adoption.
“We are proud of the work we have done in Indiana to increase technology options for schools. Increased flexibility to select digital instructional materials and new state-level grants are spreading high-quality, innovative initiatives across our state,” said Dr. Tony Bennett, Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction. “This effort has created a thriving 21st century learning environment for Hoosier children and is helping to drive student success to an all time high.”
As the report concludes, “reimagining an integral element of the educational system within five years is a daunting task. Yet, as this report highlights, many states and districts have traveled partially down the path already – and our students are ready. If we are serious about offering a college and 21st career ready education for all students, we do not have the luxury of further delay.”