No More Books in School

Several schools will be getting rid of books. It’s not as bad as it sounds though. Pearson a company that publishes educational materials (and owns Penguin, incidentally) has been promoting a plan to replace textbooks with digital materials. The company was able to convince California to try it out, disclosing “on Monday with its half-year results that about half the state’s elementary school students will learn about the American Revolutionary War and Thomas Jefferson using an interactive computer program,” according to Reuters. Pearson is hoping to expand the program to more states and more subjects.

It’s an interesting idea. On the one hand, computer programs probably have the ability to provide a very rich learning experience, especially when compared to some of the unimaginative textbooks that kids are subjected to. It is also probably cheaper than providing textbooks. On the other hand, I have to wonder what might happen if books were eliminated from the learning process. What will kids think of books when it is no longer necessary to carry them around all day. I suspect that books would come to be regarded as even more archaic than they are today. Thoughts?

created The Millions and is its publisher. He and his family live in New Jersey.

One comment:

  1. I don't want to be that writer who's afraid of technology and is clinging desparately to the idea of an actual physcial book, but I'm going to be anyways. Perhaps it's a better way of learning, through computer programs, but I'm so fearful that our children will grow up without the feeling of curling up on a couch with a book in your hands, feeling the smooth cover and smelling the book smell that may not even exist except in my imagination. I love physical books and hate the idea of books being all electronic. And in all seriousness, what is this going to do to the children's eyes, staring at the computer screen all day gives me headaches and strains my eyes, I don't expect that's good for learning.

    Ah well, I guess I'm just some old fuddy duddy who likes the good ol' book. Sigh.

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