Will Use of Digital Textbooks Improve Educational Outcomes?

US Education Secretary Arne Duncan has called for schools in the US to move as fast as possible away from printed textbooks and toward digital textbooks, according to The Washington Post. Duncan asserts that printed textbooks should be obsolete within a few years.

The highest performing countries in educational outcomes like South Korea are creating digital learning environments in their schools at a faster pace than is the US. The reason is because having textbooks online enhances online learning opportunities designed to engage students in a way that a printed textbook cannot. Also, digital textbooks are much cheaper and provide more flexibility in designing curriculum which will benefit local schools which are generally pressed for funding.

In the US, the digitization of textbooks seems to go hand in hand with providing a laptop or tablet for each student. Read and Prosper is following a lower cost alternative which is to provide electronic textbooks on electronic readers. This makes more sense in rural schools in developing countries where internet access as well as access to power is not reliable. Nonetheless, it is good to know that Read and Prosper is following the advice of educational experts in first world countries as it brings technology to its partners in Kenya!



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