Why School Districts Are Abandoning Textbooks

Gone are the days of having to carry around eight textbooks in your backpack, or to rush to your locker to grab that American History textbook for your next class.  One school district in Indiana has completely ditched textbooks in favor of online curricula that students access via laptops. 

 According to an article in the New York Times, all math and science textbooks in the Munster, Indiana, school district have been replaced with digital editions.  The change impacts all students in grades 5-12, and cost over $1 million to implement.

 Some of the biggest differences are obvious.  With a laptop, the digital curricula is complemented with video clips, audio files, and interactive games.  Some of the excuses are new, such as “the server ate my homework!” or “the wifi network is down, I can’t access today’s assignment!”

 Munster is hardly the first district to try such a technological leap.  Many other districts across the country are changing some or all of their curricula to digital platforms.  Some school districts have issued all of their students iPads instead of laptops. 

 Regardless of the technology being used, it is a sure fact that heavy textbooks will gradually be phased out across the nation.  What remains to be seen is whether technology and its use can truly enhance student learning, or if it is merely the same material in a different package.