31 May 2010
Toronto District School Board considers digital textbooks
TORONTO—The Toronto District School Board is debating a motion brought forward by trustee Michael Coteau to bring e-textbooks into Toronto schools.

Coteau says the motion, which will be brought to Board committee next month will make information easier to access for students. “In schools now there are students who can’t take textbooks home because there aren’t enough copies in the classroom,” says Coteau.

The move has not come without opposition, says Coteau who mentions that individuals including Premier of Ontario Dalton McGuinty have voiced concerns that it’s too soon for such a digital shift.

Blyth Academy, a private school in Toronto has begun using e-readers in its classrooms thanks in part to a partnership with Sony and Pearson. “We have done away with textbooks for the most part,” says the school’s director of development Brandon Kerstens. “We still have some for a variety of reasons — mainly because some classes still don’t have the same quality material available in non-text form.”

The “cool factor” is one of the reasons behind implementing e-readers at the school, says Kerstens. “Students have shown a great deal of interest in information coming to them in an electronic form on e-readers,” he says. “It has increased the chances of them reading and interacting with the course work.”

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger introduced a program last year to stop buying textbooks and give students free digital copies instead.

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