California classrooms to take digital textbook plunge

Sacramento BeeJune 5, 2009 

Teachers and textbook techies, take note: California is reviewing digital versions of textbooks that could be used in high school math and science classes next year.

It's the first step in a transition from the 5-pound texts loaded into schoolkids' backpacks to computer-based books and learning materials, and California is the first state to try it.

When Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger addressed the Legislature on Tuesday, he said going digital could save schools hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

School administrators realize this could be the future of instruction, but they say it won't save them money anytime soon.

And for school districts like River Delta Unified along the Sacramento River, the transition will be challenging. Many of the district's 2,500 students live in homes without computer access. And the district gets its Internet through cables that can clog up.

"For the state to give us a disk, it would be like giving us a gallon of gas and no car to put it in," said River Delta's Chief Educational Services Officer Robert Hubbel.


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