Digital Books in Classrooms

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What do you think about digital books in classrooms? Although the move towards digital books has been underway for a couple of years on college campuses, textbook company McGraw-Hill hopes to spark the change in K-12 classrooms too.

On Monday, McGraw-Hill launched the first-ever digital-only textbook for K-12 students. This book is completely cloud-based and all of the materials associated with it can be accessed from any device with a browser. Students will also be able to participate in Facebook-style discussions that will stay with the text.

Impact on the Environment

  • Digital-only textbooks will require more data centers, and data centers require a lot of energy. Let’s just hope that it is clean energy…
  • Schools will need to provide students with devices to access the books. When the technology becomes outdated, this will produce e-waste.
  • Fewer trees will be cut down to produce textbooks.

It will be interesting to see whether the energy saved by not printing out books will cancel out the energy used in the data centers and by the electronic devices. The general consensus is that the break-even point for e-readers versus print books is that 50-150 books. However, this number assumes brand-new books, and I rarely had a brand-new book in K-12 school. It was the norm for print books to be used for at least 6 years, depending on the subject and grade level.

What do you think about digital books in schools?

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