The Dallas Morning News reports that more school districts are replacing hardbound textbooks with electronic textbooks, including three districts in Texas. The reason? E-books can be accessed online or downloaded onto a laptop computer and can be updated more frequently than traditional textbooks. But the article doesn’t mention the still prevalent digital divide. What happens if a student doesn’t have access to a computer? Or if the school district doesn’t have enough funding to provide laptops for all of the students? The digital divide may have decreased, but there is still a divide. Check out Computer and Internet Use by Students in 2003, the most recent report by the National Center for Education Statistics. Tell us what you think. Are e-books the wave of the future?

re: Will E-books Replace Traditional Textbooks?

I don't think that e-books are the wave of the future. There is not only the problem of the digital divide, but I think it is a different skill to be able to read lengthy pieces of writing on a computer screen. Right now I do a great deal of reading and research online but I still need to print things out to highlight and write notes on. I think e-books will be a nice complement to other educational resources.

re: Will E-books Replace Traditional Textbooks?

E-books may be the wave of the future, but I don't think we should rely on them, just yet. Too many times, our district network goes down, or there are bugs in the system. When actual books are abandoned for images on a screen, I think we lose something valuable - the opportunity to take a good book with you to a quiet place for some enrichment of the mind and soul...

re: Will E-books Replace Traditional Textbooks?

Actually, I think that ebooks will replace traditional books. I think we are at least ten years away from this. As personal computers become only $100 (and less in future years... note the same progression of calculators over the years), then doing away with paper will not only make sense but will be environmentally responsible. Instead of buying new textbooks, we'll have textbook contracts... and the speed of information will be something that we (in education) will need to address. "Books" will be something like flash drives that we put into digital devices that become the readable surface.

Note the generation divide... students read and write on a computer with ease while adults over forty often write long hand before transferring to computer and print off before reading.

We will get away from teaching a finite knowledge base to teaching how to access information and assess and use it. Just my take on it.

re: Will E-books Replace Traditional Textbooks?

E-books will be the wave of the future for a couple of reasons. First is that textbook companies will push for them. It is a great way for these publishing companies to save money. In addition eventually these savings will be passed down to schools. I love the idea in the article that allows for the books to be easily updated. The biggest reason will be that of the needs of the students. Teachers and adults see problems and issues with it because we are not "technology natives" but "technology immigrants." Students have grown up with this technology and should be pushed to it. Schools tend to try and teach the same way we did since 1900. It is time to change. It should start with textbooks. The most important idea in this article was that students were taking the technology and applying it to other technology pieces. Isn't that what schools are supposed to be doing. Teaching students to take the material and do something with it?

re: Will E-books Replace Traditional Textbooks?

Each platform faces the challenge of achieving a critical mass of textbook titles. For students, the downloadable option allows them to access an e-book on a single computer even when that computer is offline, while the online format, accessible from any computer connected to the Internet, is more popular.