Survey on California’s Digital-Textbook Initiative

September 30, 2009 1 min read

California launched a digital-textbook initiative this year to help high schools in the state find suitable free materials online. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called for a review of open-source digital math and science textbooks in part to help districts save money in the midst of the state’s budget crisis.

I’ve been following California’s effort, as well as similar moves in other states, to encourage the use of more digital resources for instruction. So I thought these survey results from the California Learning Resources Network were interesting. The CLRN conducted the review of 11 digital texts submitted for the state program.

CLRN Director Brian Bridges surveyed teachers and administrators throughout the state to get a read on the level of awareness and interest in the digital-textbook initiative. Some 850 responded.

Only a few of the respondents had actually downloaded the texts, which were evaluated based on their alignment with state standards in their respective subjects. But more than six in 10 believe the initiative will save schools money if they use the digital texts in place of traditional schoolbooks. A majority also see digital texts as “an important first step” to move California schools into the “the digital age,” and a way to increase learning opportunities for students. Close to 90 percent of the educators in the survey would like to see the initiative expanded to include other subjects and other formats, from PDF versions of texts, for example, to more interactive formats

The full results are here.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.