Guest Post: Realizing The Benefits Of Digital Textbooks – Without A Tablet In Sight

There’s no question that digital textbooks are the newest craze when it comes to classroom technology. Thanks to the success of the newest iPad, the contracts signed between Apple and major publishers, and the cost advantages of digital versions over time, teachers and administrators have been increasingly making the switch from traditional to electronic textbooks.

According to early studies, such a transition is in the students’ best interest: a pilot program carried out in Riverside, California found that 78 percent of digital textbook users scored “Proficient” or “Advanced” on a standardized math test. This compares with a statistically significant 59 percent figure among students who studied with traditional means. While this is only one study, it still generally supports Apple’s contention – that digital textbooks are not only easier to use and cheaper to purchase, but they also do a better job of stimulating children to learn.

But for many educators, these conclusions do little to spur their interest in digital textbooks. These educators don’t like the upfront costs, the flashiness of the system, and the simple fact that teaching is not done with pen and paper. They don’t believe that a piece of technology can alone make students learn better; rather, they maintain that it is the teacher’s prerogative to instill that understand in their classroom. » Read more