|B is for books, or lack there of them...|
Every teacher loves books, the smell of them, the touch of the paper in one's hands, the sound of them as you pick up the book and riffle all 200+ pages. They hold wondrous worlds, new information and valuable suggestions for the future. The voices, thoughts and ideas that burst forth from the pages are eternal. When I need to, I can still go open up my copy of To Kill a Mockingbird and receive wise guidance from Atticus Finch because he still lives on.
This year my school fully migrated to a 1:1 environment which deepened our goal of building 21st century skills and preparing all of our students for the future. Given the choice, I am especially proud that my department decided to replace all our traditional textbooks with e-books for use with the Chromebooks. Although I love technology and have always worked to integrate it into my curriculum, I was not sure just how to feel about this change. Was I ready to let go of paper textbooks? Was I that tied to them? Can I be just as effective of instructor without them? I am little out of my comfort zone here.
For the bibliophile in me, e-books offer no pleasure for my senses at all. I still continue to read a good hardback novel for pleasure and I believe paper versions will never go away. Go chat with others about this and you will find I am not the only one that feels this way. There is nothing better than a quiet morning, a cup of coffee and a good read. Complete of course with a turning of the page corner to mark where I left off. Yes, I do that. But as an educator with a focus on the future of my students, there are loads of benefits that e-books bring to my teaching:
1. LESS CLUTTER- Students have less textbooks to carry around which is easier on their backs, posture and navigation through the hall. An added bonus-I don't have to trip over as much in the classroom either!
2. MORE ACCESS- Chromebooks and online textbooks are a powerful 1-2 punch for education today. Being able to conveniently access online course materials with a computer means that learning continues away from the classroom even more! lso, teachers can use other valuable components that don't come with a paper textbook such as a online grade book, student progress data and communication tools. Staying in tune with students and their learning has never been easier!
3. LOW COST- Online textbooks are cheaper. Let's work to save parents money! Same textbook, same activities....just a different format. All it takes is training on the tools, adjustment time and patience on the part of everyone.
4. MORE FEEDBACK- Don't you just hate it when you assign activities only to discover that students from previous years have penciled in the answers in the textbook? Ugh. I hate used textbooks. With e-books,every student has fresh activities so they can stay actively engaged. Many e-books offer progress reports to the students after completion of activities as well. That personalized, instant feedback is such a bonus with online textbooks.
So, apologies to textbook companies and chiropractors everywhere. Even though I do love a brand new textbook and the sound of the spine cracking open for that first time, I am learning to work with the same material in more efficient ways that are better for my students learning and overall health!