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March 10, 2009, 6:00 am
Filed under: Books, Newsstand

House Panel Says Texas Schools Must Embrace Electronic Textbooks By Terrence Stutz / The Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN – Advocates for more technology in the classroom – and fewer textbooks – are stepping up their arguments for change this year, trying to convince Texas lawmakers that the future of electronic textbooks is now.

The technology push is getting a boost from a special House committee that warned about the consequences if Texas is stuck in the past when it comes to classroom materials. Among the reasons: the higher cost of printed books, the expense of transporting and storing them, and the fact that they can be outdated before students get them.

“Our current system just seems outdated in an economy where you can put much of this content out digitally without all those costs,” said Rep. Dan Branch, the Dallas Republican who led the committee. He is preparing to file legislation that gives school districts more leverage to purchase electronic textbooks. The goal is to enable local school officials to speed up their shift to e-books through downloads to student laptops, access to online servers or use of computer disks. Continue reading