Stepinac has become one of the first high schools in the country to drop all textbooks like dead weight and replace them with a “digital library.” When students started classes Monday, they were zipping to an app or website on their tablet or laptop and had instant access to all 40 texts in the Stepinac curriculum, not to mention all sorts of note-taking, highlighting and interactive features….
In the past, students’ families had to spend up to $700 a year on textbooks. This year — after the one-time purchase of a tablet or laptop — families have to pay $150 for access to the digital library.
The high school worked out a unique deal with Pearson.
Stepinac officials worked for a year with Pearson, the giant education company that has long dominated the textbook world, to design and create a unique digital library that is bound to be studied by other private and public schools.
The transition will inevitably come with some problems.
The first few weeks may bring some challenges.
Stepinac officials expect to encounter some parental discomfort over dropping books with spines. They recognize there may be technical glitches at first. And they will have to encourage students to leave space-eating photos and music off their tablets — and to keep their devices charged.
I wonder if many students will miss the illustrations and images from their old math and history books. Even if they do, I suspect it won’t take too long to get used to the new digital format.
Although this exact model wouldn’t work for most colleges, I foresee a similar transition for higher education.