California schoolbooks going digital

Jun 09, 2009
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, seen here on June 02, has announced plans to phase out school textbooks in favor of digital learning aids as the state looks to plug its massive budget hole.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced plans to phase out school textbooks in favor of digital learning aids as the state looks to plug its massive budget hole.

The measure -- dubbed the Digital Textbook Initiative -- will see California schoolchildren ditch "outdated" traditional maths and science textbooks for digital versions later this year, Schwarzenegger said.

"Kids, as you all know, today are very familiar with listening to their music digitally and online and to watch TV online, to watch movies online, to be on and participate in that and on Facebook," Schwarzenegger said.

"So this is why I think it is so important that we move on from the textbooks," the Republican Governor told schoolchildren in Sacramento on Monday according to remarks released by his office.

"The textbooks are outdated, as far as I'm concerned, and there's no reason why our schools should have our students lug around these antiquated and heavy and expensive textbooks.

"California is the home of Silicon Valley. We are the world leader in technology and innovation, so we can do better than that."

California is the first state in the United States to introduce such an initiative, Schwarzenegger said. The move comes as Schwarzenegger looks to slash spending across a range of sectors in a bid to narrow California's projected 24 billion dollar budget deficit.

With the average price of a school textbook coming in it around 100 dollars, Schwarzenegger said initial savings from the plan would be between 300-400 million dollars. If the scheme was widened to cover more subjects, hundreds of millions more would be trimmed from the annual budget, he said.

"I know this is, of course, a dramatic shift from the status quo and there is some resistance in some cases," Schwarzenegger said.

"But I feel that this is the wrong time now to hold onto the status quo, because this is one of the worst economic and financial crises that the state has been in since the Great Depression.

"The state has a tremendous lack of money; therefore we had to make severe cuts to schools, billions of dollars of cuts, so we have to find every possible way to think outside the box."

(c) 2009 AFP

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User comments : 6

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vivcollins
5 / 5 (4) Jun 09, 2009
It might also have the unintended side effect of bringing the text books up to date and save a tree or two
El_Nose
2 / 5 (1) Jun 09, 2009
-- questions not answered -- what platform will the books live on -- is this a mandate to buy kindles or a mandate that every child now own a laptop --- and if that laptop gets stolen who pays for it , -- the family that is having toruble putting food on the table cannot afford to replace electronics because their kid was a little irresponcsable , or cause some bullies broke it to be mean. If they are only allowed on school grounds then you cannot take it home to use to learn --- Language classes would be the best place to save money -- remeber the books in high school you had to buy, and learning spanish or french would be a lot easier if childrens books in the language could be easily accessable.
chukB
not rated yet Jun 09, 2009
Maybe the format of a Text book needs to be replaced by a more interactive medium.
mo411
5 / 5 (1) Jun 10, 2009
Digital Devolution, it's all about jobs stupid.

"In 2006, bookbinders and bindery workers held about 72,000 jobs, including 7,200 as skilled bookbinders and 65,000 as bindery workers. More than 3 out of 4 bookbinding and bindery jobs are in printing and related support activities." (http://www.bls.go...32.htm).

In essence the idea is to reduce the number of bodies in a craft industry to that of off shore (child labor) workers building cheep liquid paper devices (eBook readers)...

I actually agree eBooks are a far better idea because of the ability to interact with the medium by searching and alike. Kids learn better when they can explore the content more institutively then what an editor might have imagined.
Noumenon
4.8 / 5 (47) Jun 14, 2009
Nooooo, its about teaching efficiently and successfully, not about employing an army of government workers to continue the injustice to our kids.

The problem is the government does not evolve with the times,.. they don't have to compete, so there is no motivation to improve.

With that in mind, ...THE ENTIRE SCHOOL SYSTEM SHOULD HAVE BEEN PUT ONLINE BY NOW, ...it's 2009!

No more physical schools, buses, or teachers unions, ... only a testing center every hundred miles. The existing school system is comically inefficient in both money and time wasted.

...and those who don't have internet access, THEY can pay for a tutor.
Lord_jag
not rated yet Jun 17, 2009
-- questions not answered -- what platform will the books live on -- is this a mandate to buy kindles or a mandate that every child now own a laptop --- and if that laptop gets stolen who pays for it , -- the family that is having toruble putting food on the table cannot afford to replace electronics because their kid was a little irresponcsable , or cause some bullies broke it to be mean. If they are only allowed on school grounds then you cannot take it home to use to learn --- Language classes would be the best place to save money -- remeber the books in high school you had to buy, and learning spanish or french would be a lot easier if childrens books in the language could be easily accessable.

Ok, but with the way it's going, the laptop will be about $200 or so. The cost of 2-3 schoolbooks.

For every way that you can break a computer, I can think of two to destroy a book. At least computers can be made waterproof.

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