Digital textbooks pushing out paper in Texas

Textbooks could be going the way of slide rules and Big Chief tablets within a few years in Texas classrooms.

State legislation passed in the spring could put up-to-the-minute instructional content at students' fingertips — either online or in customized printed form — eliminating the mass-market hardback textbook.

The sea change could happen sooner rather than later, beginning as early as the 2010-11 school year.

"This is one of the few times we can do things cheaper, faster and better all at the same time, said the measure’s author, state Rep. Scott Hochberg, D-Houston.

The legislation is one of two bills passed this year that allow the Texas Education Agency to create its own repository of digital textbook content.

By switching to online content, schools could save money, customize materials to fit students' needs and more easily integrate textbooks with video, software or other technology.

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