U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has called for the nation to move as fast as possible away from printed textbooks and toward digital ones. “Over the next few years, textbooks should be obsolete,” he declared.
It’s not just a matter of keeping up with the times, said Duncan. It’s about keeping up with other countries. South Korea, which consistently outperforms the U.S. when it comes to educational outcomes, is moving far faster than the U.S. in adopting digital learning environments. One of the most wired countries in the world, South Korea has set a goal to go fully digital with its textbooks by 2015.
The transition to digital involves more than scanning books and uploading them to computers, tablets, or e-readers. Proponents describe a comprehensive shift to immersive, online learning experiences. In addition, schools using digital textbooks could save money on hard copies and get updated material to students more quickly.