The Digital Textbook – Same Difference

 “At the meeting, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski also encouraged U.S. curriculum and ed-tech companies to move toward digital textbooks to keep America’s students globally competitive. “Other nations like South Korea and Turkey are racing to seize the opportunities of digital textbooks,” he said. “We need to step up our efforts to realize the promise of this new technology in the U.S.”

To read the entire article this quote is from click here

How about we do something more than “step up”  to the efforts of South Korea and Turkey and actually surpass them?  DO AWAY WITH TEXTBOOKS……in any shape or form! 

This comment made by Chairman Genachowski is an example of the adaptive use of technology on Grappling’s Spectrum.  It’s still just a textbook – the kids are just using a different tool.  It’s like going from the overhead projector to a SmartBoard.  The students are impressed at first because of it’s novelty, but then it just turns into a delivery method for the teacher.  Whether in hand on or on the computer, most textbooks promote passive learning and teacher centered instruction.

When the tornado destroyed our high school on May 22 it not only took away the ability for us to use the building, it also damaged and destroyed our textbooks.  When we made the decision to purchase laptops for our students, we also made a decision not to replace the old and outdated textbooks.

At the rate information hits the web, textbooks that were purchased yesterday are already outdated today.

Joplin Schools, instead, created a model that enlisted the support of  21st century teaching and learning coaches to assist teachers in making a change to using e-sources rather than textbooks.  Joplin Schools is a district rich in constructivist/inquiry teaching and learning and has been using a model called eMINTS for over 9 years.  We have taken what we’ve learned from that model and applied it to teaching and learning at the high school on a grand scale.  JHS teachers have gone through intense PD since June with embedded classroom support from the teaching and learning coaches.  With the support of the instructional coaches, teachers are creating real-world, inquiry based lessons, units and modules that use a collection of what we are calling e-sources found on the internet.  We are using technology in transforming ways – not just replacing old tools with new tricks.


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