It’s a fall afternoon as I drive home and find myself behind a school bus. I don’t mind the repeated stops; I watch the students jump off the bus and cross the street. My mind starts to wander; not much has changed from this picture from when I went to school. Students still have a backpack full of gear, but I wonder what’s in the backpack. Is it a tablet, computer, jumpdrive, or several textbooks?
Having been in the K-12 ed tech sector for nearly fourteen years providing education software and adoption plans for weaving technology into the classroom; my hope is that the backpack has a computer, tablet or a jump-drive, and no textbooks. That the impact of our everyday life of living in a digital age has strongly impacted the school day.
Other industry business models have been disrupted for example media: music, news, and television. As cited by Classroom Aid article entitled, 6 Major Recommends for K-12 Textbook in a Digital Age, “The 50-plus-year-old business model of states and districts purchasing one textbook per student per subject per grade level is out of sync in a world where people expect to mix and match materials at a time when students are using and creating content in ways unheard of a few short years ago.”
I’ve seen many districts repurpose textbook funding to begin a one-to-one program, empowering every student with a device and investing in digital curricula that aligns to lesson plans, scope and sequence, and standards. One district in North Carolina is nationally recognized for this. For the cost of a can of soda per student, every child can have a laptop and backpack. Teachers are empowered to use a combination of digital resources whether it be home-grown, vetted vendor web-base content, and open education resources (OER).
Digital content means lower costs, flexible lesson planning, a greener environment, and the opportunity to personalize the learning environment. As sited in a SEDTA report entitled, Out of Print: Reimagining the K-12 Textbook in a Digital Age, “Digital content can be easily kept up to date and relevant to how student’s live without the cost or reprinting or redistributing print materials such as textbooks or student handouts. It can be made available anytime and anywhere, both online and offline, and accessible when and where the student, teacher, or parent needs it.”
I know this to be all true from my tenure at The Virtual High School and Blackboard where districts were able to plug-n-play digital curriculum into the LMS or a learning platform. These digital assets can be easily updated, and supplemented with a video: either curated by the teacher or created through a simple webcam or screen capture tool. The SEDTA report comments, “Instead of fitting students to content, digital content allows the teacher to fit the content to the student.”
Kaltura has seen many districts and virtual schools go through this paradigm shift from print to digital. There are four common pillars that we see video being a powerful resource for this change.
School districts are increasingly making the shift from print to digital in K-12. Hopefully, that will mean some significantly more manageable backpacks.