Widespread Use of E-textbooks Not in D86's Immediate Plans
Though Apple has negotiated a deal with three major textbook publishers to produce tablet-based school materials, the number of available titles is thin at this point.
The 2012-13 school year won’t be the year of the electronic textbook in Hinsdale Township High School District 86.
Dr. Bruce Law, District 86’s assistant superintendent for instruction, said at Monday’s Committee of the Whole board meeting that the district’s students will likely be utilizing traditional paper-and-binding textbooks next year, as tablet-based e-textbooks have not yet become widespread enough to employ in every classroom.
Apple recently negotiated a deal with three top textbook companies—Houghton Mifflin, McGraw-Hill, and Pearson—to produce e-textbooks that would be readable only on Apple’s iPad, District 86 director of technology Tim Hohman said. At this point, however, there are only nine available textbook titles.
“So it’s not there yet,” Hohman said.
Superintendent Dr. Nicholas Wahl said Apple’s deal with “the big three” is significant and the district plans to keep an eye on the development of the e-textbook.
“I don’t think we’ll be talking about nine titles at this time next year,” Wahl said.
The superintendent said the district has heard from members of the community who want to reduce the weight that students carry around in their backpacks. E-textbooks would be a way to do that.
“When the textbook companies get into the business of [widespread e-textbooks], then there’ll be a real pragmatic discussion about eliminating the backpacks,” Wahl said.
Students at Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South will likely be studying the old-fashioned way next year. The District 86 Board of Education will vote on Law’s textbook recommendations at its March 19 business meeting.