The days of students’ use of traditional textbooks in New Mexico’s largest public school district appear to be numbered.
The Albuquerque school board recently approved an $11.3 million contract with a company that provides Web-based resources instead of paper educational materials, the Albuquerque Journal reported. Officials in the 90,000-student district say contracting with Silver Spring, Md.-based Discovery Education is cheaper than buying new textbooks and will better prepare students.
“This is going to be a transition year,” says Shelly Green, the district’s chief academic officer. “We’re not going and pulling books out of the schools, but we do want teachers to start taking advantage of this. The electronic world is really where the kids are starting to live.”
District officials call the new materials “techbooks.” They include videos, interactive lessons, educational games, online reading passages, and glossaries.
Making the transition from traditional books to techbooks has some teachers concerned, including Gary Bodman, who teaches science at Madison Middle School. He says he’s worried about those students who don’t have computers or Internet access at home.
At Zuni Elementary, which piloted the program last year, a computer lab for students and parents is open after school and is accessible to students during the day.
District officials say the same kinds of accommodations will be made across the district.
A version of this article appeared in the October 17, 2012 edition of Digital Directions as Albuquerque Schools Replacing Textbooks With ‘Techbooks’