SMITH: Continue preparations for textbook transition

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mugshot_smithBY ANDREW SMITH
[email protected]

Roseville Joint Union High School District should continue making preparations for inevitable adjustments to the Williams Act. Rather than wait to make a hasty transition over to digital forms of instructional material, prepare what will be needed for efficient transition now.

The Williams Act, passed in 2004, in part to ensure access to materials – specifically, it mandates that schools provide all students access to textbooks.

Though fixing an issue at the time, the William’s Act concerns of lack of access to instructional materials, and the mandated renewal of textbooks instituted in response is not up-to-date with the current trends of education. Evidence of its irrelevance is common on-campus: stacks of untouched textbooks in the back of classrooms and students’ homes, online copies of novels and use of outside online sources in class. There is diminishing utilization of paper-back materials.

Teachers do not struggle to find content without the guidance from textbooks.

I have not used, or honestly ever seen an English textbook in high school. A majority of work in these courses, and others similar to them, come from worksheets provided by the teacher, online articles or novels.

Teachers regularly promote more student-friendly online sources over counterparts in textbooks. Websites like Khan Academy have lessons supplemented by videos and simpler practice problems with explanations, these websites streamline users important information.

Even courses that utilize textbooks could transition to online materials. This change would only serve to further students’ comfortability with technology and allow a wider accessibility to the content.

Despite current limitations from the Williams Act RJUHSD’ increased spending on technology begins to set up what will be needed for district-wide progression onto digital platforms.

Current limited introductions of Chromebooks and iPads builds the necessary stockpiles for mass use and helps accustom campuses before more significant changes that await.

My own experience with these online products has been predominantly positive. I appreciate the ease of access it provides, allowing me to work on assignments from class just off my phone.

I am interested to see the developments the district will make down the road. Continue to prepare for the future, a majority of courses on campuses are already doing so.