To the Editor:
Thank you for your insightful article “Digital Tools Push Math, Science to New Levels” (Digital Directions, June 20, 2007).
As a digital-curriculum publisher, we couldn’t agree more with Elliot Soloway, a professor of computer science and education at the University of Michigan, who is quoted as saying that “children today find paper and pencil boring,” and that “kids are about … the interactivity, the immediacy that technology gives.”
We have anecdotal data that support the views cited in your article, from numerous math and science instructors teaching with digital curricula. Teachers using digital curricula report that enrollment in math and science classes is up, bucking the supposed trend of falling student interest in these subjects in the United States. And what’s more, test scores are better. The fact that digital curricula cost from one-half to one-third the price of traditional textbooks is yet another benefit.
What was not mentioned in the article, however, was state legislation—and in some cases, school or district policy—that does not permit educators to consider standards-based digital curricula as an alternative to printed textbooks during textbook-approval and -adoption processes. We urge government, districts, schools, instructors, and vendors to support change, for technology to be more widely and appropriately adopted in all schools. Let’s join together and remove obstacles that restrict ready access to digital curricula.