In the state that has brought us Youtube, Myspace, Google, iPod, and more, Governor Schwarzenegger is stuck with a $24 billion budget deficit. He has recently launched an initiative to see if the 6 million public school students can use online materials to save millions every year on purchased textbooks.
Being a state that is the leader in technology development this is a great initiative and the rest of the country is watching very closely. Schwarzenegger is quoted in the San Jose Mercury News saying… “California is home to software giants, bioscience research pioneers, and first-class university systems known around the world. But our students still learn from instructional materials in formats made possible by Gutenberg’s printing press,”…
Now ditching the printing press may not be the end all be all, checking out E-Booksdirectory.com is a good start. They are an online resource that contains links to freely downloadable eBooks, technical papers, and documents, as well as user-contributed content, articles, reviews, and comments. The service is free for students, educators, researchers, and eBook lovers. With this site, Wikipedia, and other web 2.0 websites, there are various ways schools can start cutting costs.
How are eBooks a great start? Instead of having to check in/out textbooks every year a librarian or teacher can spend more time working with the students. Districts would no longer have to worry about replacing torn and marked up books and lost and forgotten texts can easily be downloaded again with no cost at all. And all of those parents who complain about 50-60 pound backpacks… Well a digital file has no weight other than the media it is stored on, say a thumb drive… Which is probably less than an ounce.
However the future still looms for some digital text. Google Books, announced in 2003, Google’s plan is to digitize the worlds books and have information become searchable, indexed, and displayed on the Internet. However lawsuits are holding back this project. You can though, check out the books that have been allowed to be digitized over at books.google.com.
Once again the Internet is changing our way of life. This time it is in the classroom. And it could not be at a better time. Green is the new future and digital textbooks are a good start. If you have any ideas on ways to help cut classroom costs post them in the comment section and maybe you will see an article about it!