Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tipping Point for Digital Texts - Teacher Approval

At the VSS2009 conference this week someone asked Pearson if they, as a publisher, were really on board with the digital revolution in learning. Of course he answered yes - but also clearly stated that text book approvals at the state level happen every six years basically creating a huge barrier for innovation in the text book arena. At least Texas has begun the process of opening the door to digital textbooks.

So in order for innovation in digital texts to happen, text book approval has to decentralize. When I first started writing this, I was going to advocate for moving it to the district. But even that doesn't make sense as rapidly as technology is changing in education.

We will have true innovation when the teacher decides what text to use. We will truly serve each student when the teacher can pick chapters, or even pages, from the texts they want in order to meet the standards for that particular subject. Then student learning can really be customized. So if teachers know what has to be taught from solid state standards and have access to great digital content, they can put together some amazing lesson plans each year.

Instead, they are stuck with a text book that was approved 5 years ago by a state board that has no idea what is going on each classroom.