August 9, 2009

Digital Textbooks Sound Good On Paper

I know I'm kicking it old school, but I'm still on the fence about this textbooks migrating to e-reader thing. I mean at first blush, I love the idea of less textbooks. They are heavy, expensive, hard to inventory, and quickly go out of date. What could be better than a whole stack of them stuffed into e-readers or net books?

But then I think of actually using textbooks as a student. I distinctly recall have five or six books laid out in front of me on a desk, flipping between indexes and maps; diagrams and illustrations. I know e-readers are searchable and yes, you can highlight and make notations, if not always as easily. But maps and illustrations come out less well--even on the best-designed websites.

I'm not saying it's not an option--and a very attractive option right now with all of the financial cuts we're dealing with. But I hope we think this through and do whatever is best for our students--not just easiest.

(Of course, I've never been a big fan of most of the textbooks out there, either, now that I think about it...)

(image from flickr)