For those teachers that find themselves with the enviable task of choosing a new text book for their grade level or subject, some good news. Alright, so perhaps you dread the endless meetings and sales pitches made by publishers about why their “educational materials system” is best for you. Regardless, something that we should be considering as we purchase new texts is whether or not they have a digital counter-part; that is, a digital copy available via the web that is not only completely customizable and flexible, but contains supplemental materials in the forms of assessments, extensions, and additional resources.
If you aren’t in the position (or nowhere near purchasing new texts, as is the case for many of us) do a quick search on the publisher’s web site for your current text. As many more schools adopt wireless laptops and other digital learning tools, having an additional resource on the web that is flexible to your needs saves time and lets you drive home a point. Imagine being able to teach a lesson from your Prentice Hall Biology book and then go online to cut, copy, and paste your own supplemental study guide with just a few clicks of the mouse, drop in pre-searched Internet sites that compliment the objective, all while having an interactive glossary of the unit’s vocabulary available 24/7. Fully manipulative digital texts allow you to better guide learners through the curriculum, and produce a learning tool better suited to the needs of your students.
Something to ponder; at least one high school in Arizona has gone completely text book free in favor of online texts.