Are we ready yet?  Do we have the technology to let go of paper text books?  I’m thinking a lot about this as the HS math department at my current school, which is phasing in a 1-1 laptop program, is putting together our orders for the next school year.  Should the paper text books be filed away in the artifacts cabinet and be replaced by slick new i-texts, iBooks or digital books or whatever they are called?


Scrolling through a few known math bloggers ideas, I’m seeing several sides to this dilemma.  Dan Mayer in a recent blog post, It’s Called iBooks Author, Not iMath Textboks Author, And the Trouble that Results sees them as more of the same just in lighter weight package.  He takes aim at math text book companies being out of touch with what inspires learning in the average student.  He was hoping that with the invent of iTexts, textbooks would make a leap and stop spoon feeding students the information limiting their creativity.


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David Wee’s analysis’s the Apple iPad Text in his blog the 21st century educator.  He sees many benefits to schools that can afford them, such as having the ability to subscribe to multiple textbook publishing companies through the same system.  Wees however, remains skeptical and, like Meyer, thinks that other than decreasing the weight of students back-packs, these electronic text books are more of the same and that text book authors and publishing companies are not taking advantage of this new platform  to fix some of the pedagogical problems in traditional textbooks.


For several years now many of my IB math students have loaded the CD version of our current text onto their computers and have become accustom to looking at their screens for their daily skills practice and explorations.  It will not be a major step for them to ” save the trees”  and get rid of the paper books all together.  I, despite several math bloggers hesitations, am excited about interactive e-text books.  I look forward to the day very soon when our students’ back packs get a little lighter.