“Take out your textbook and turn to page 82.” As if the class you’re in isn’t boring enough without the added bonus of reading pages from a book you don’t understand, and to be perfectly honest, really don’t care about. Even worse than having to actually read the textbook, is having to lug it around all day. One textbook might not weigh very much, but when you start having more than one, it starts to add up. Most high school students are taking maybe five to seven classes. If you have a textbook for each one, that’s a lot of stuff you’re carrying around, in addition to the many binders, notebooks, pencils, pens, everything you need to get through each class. That’s where digital textbooks come in. Having a textbook online means that students don’t have to carry their books with them. They can leave them at school, and just use the one online at home.
One of the bonuses of using textbooks online is that there are online activities to go along with the section. www. vhlcentral.com is an interactive website for French and Spanish students that has activities that go along with the textbook. On VHL, teachers create their class, and then assign activities (with due dates!). The teachers can see which students have completed the activities and also how long it took them to do them. They can also see their grades on the activities. For students, this website is great because the activities are good practice for quizzes or tests, as they go directly along with the textbook.
Most textbooks need a code to be able to access these websites. Since the companies want to make money, they want to be sure that you bought their first textbook before you can access the online edition, especially since many come with supplemental activities to help prepare students for tests and/or quizzes. Getting the codes, isn’t very difficult, as most come with the purchase of the textbooks.
McGraw Hill has most, if not all of their textbooks online. For schools that use this company, this would be extremely beneficial for the students. Each textbook is set up differently, but all have the same basic format: textbook online, quizzes, tests, and additional links to helpful resources. For students, the online version would be helpful, because not only would the have one less big, bulky, heavy thing to carry around, they have several ways to test their knowledge. Which in turn could lead to better quiz and test grades, which makes students, teachers, parents, and administrators happier!
Overall, online textbooks are a wonderful idea. Less back injuries, happier parents (less angry calls to teachers), and no more, “I forgot my textbook at school/home so I couldn’t do the assignment” excuses. But really, the online books are much better, and all schools should strongly consider using them.