Putting Education Reform To The Test

Explaining Florida’s Shift To Digital Textbooks

Official Saint Leo University/flickr

Kindles or other electronic devices will soon replace textbooks in classrooms.

New requirements mean Florida students will use digital textbooks by 2015.

Some districts have already started making the change.

In Pasco County, where there’s a textbook shortage, the district opted to spend money on digital copies of books this school year.

The problem is that many students don’t have easy access to the internet.

Districts have a few years to work out the kinks. But they also argue the push to add updated technology — including digital textbooks — is an unpaid bill from the Legislature which will cost at least $1 billion.

The Florida Legislature this year created the Digital Instructional Materials Work Group to help lead the transition.

The nine-member panel convened in Orlando for the first time today. It’s comprised of principals, parents, and technology experts.

The group will come up with a plan to implement the shift from textbooks to digital materials.

Beginning with the 2015-2016 school year, instructional materials for students in K-12 must be provided in electronic or digital format.

The work group’s plan must specify:

  • Options for the provision of access devices for students
  • Options for providing content by subject area
  • Provisions for training and professional development for pre-service and in-service teachers
  • A detailed review of options for funding, including the re-prioritization of existing resources and recommendations for new funding

The plan must be submitted by March 1, 2013 to the Governor, Legislature, and State Board of Education.


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