I just read an article in Education Week that is sure to stir up controversy amongst educators. The article, entitled Proposal Would Replace Classroom Textbooks with Computers, discusses a bill in the Arizona legislature that would allow school districts to seek issue bonds from their community to purchase computers rather than textbooks.
Are the days of the textbook numbered? Digital and online educational resources surely have a lot of advantages over traditional textbooks. They are limitless in number. They can be instantly updated. They can allow for interactivity and collaboration. They don’t deteriorate or get lost. They provide numerous viewpoints on topics. Textbooks seem pretty archaic when compared to digital resources.
The only real problem I see in eliminating textbooks is that of equity. When course material is provided digitally, all students require a computer and internet access. Arizona is making efforts to overcome this financial burden. I wonder if more states are doing so.
Assuming we can provide access for our students (no small feat, I know), are there any other significant arguments against the proposal of migrating from printed course materials to online resources?