Its authors argue that government should furnish each student in the country with a digital reading device, which would allow textbooks to be cheaply distributed and updated, and allow teachers to tailor an interactive curriculum that effectively competes for the attention of their students in the digital age.
The proposal would cost $9 billion more than the current print textbook budget, the authors estimate, but might save $700 million a year over traditional textbook purchases by the fifth year. Or not.
Developing the content of textbooks costs money — and it will cost even more to make the new e-books interactive and whizz-bangy. (My husband authored college engineering textbooks; it takes time and skill to do it right.)
I don’t doubt that the paper textbook is going to be obsolete soon, if only to save kids’ backs, but the drive to hand out Kindles to all reminds me of the drive to hand out laptops. That was supposed to revolutionize learning too.