The Obama administration is asking every U.S. school to accelerate the transition to digital textbooks.
Obama's goal: digital textbooks for every student by 2017.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski and Education Secretary Arne Duncan will recommend today at a summit of industry and education officials that states modify the textbook adoption process, allowing K-12 schools to use taxpayer funding once reserved for printed books on iPads, Kindles and the like — as well as software.
They'll begin pushing publishers, computer tablet makers and Internet service providers to work together and lower costs if they want to sell their products to the nation's 50 million schoolkids.
Administration officials say digital textbooks help students learn more efficiently and give teachers real-time information on how well kids understand material.
"We spend $7 billion a year on textbooks, and for many students around the country, they're out of date," Genachowski says.
In five years, he predicts, "we could be spending less as a society on textbooks and getting more for it."
While up-front costs for tablet computers are high — new iPads start at $499 — he says moving from paper to digital textbooks "saves a ton of money" in the long run.
"We absolutely want to push the digital textbooks."
Portions of this article are courtesy of USA Today and you can read more here: www.USAToday.com
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