The ramification for those publishers who 'lock up' school districts is much more far-reaching than many of may have realized. You can toss a textbook program and opt for a new one, not so easy to unravel your computer system from your publishing partner's software, especially when you've paid a $40 million dollar dowry. And in a few years when most school district have signed these long-term, high-cost contracts and a limited number of publishers dominate the field, will the lack of competition be a disincentive to further innovation?
In 5 - 10 years, high-tech teaching will be as commonplace as textbooks are today and students now entering preschool will reap the benefits. I just hope students currently in K-12 will be as lucky.
Read the entire article here: PUBLISHER ENTERS NEW CHAPTER IN TEXTBOOKS
Houghton will be providing a computer-based teaching system it developed with Microsoft that will connect teachers, students, and administrators. It’s a radical shift away from the classic textbook publishing model and represents an industry transformation, as technology supplants books.
“The textbook is no longer the center of the educational universe,’’ said Wendy Colby, a senior vice president at Houghton, which is based in Boston.
The Boston publisher is selling some textbooks to Detroit, but most of the contract is for such software such as Learning Village - a customized, interactive classroom network....
The education publishing industry is being swept up in the swing toward digital products, which has accelerated in recent months, thanks partly to the availability of federal stimulus funds....
“It’s much more than just e-book versions of textbooks. It’s companion videos, interactive games, assessment, curriculum planning tools, and on and on and on.’
It’s also changing the relationship between schools and publishers. It’s one thing to discard a paper text; it’s more difficult for a school district to walk away from a computer system on which teachers and students depend.
A product such as Learning Village, Mickey said, “puts the publisher at the center of school action. It ties the school district to the publisher.’’ ...
The challenge, Johnson said, will be in training teachers on the new Houghton systems.
In a five-year study in the public schools of St. Lucie County, Fla., the publisher found that once teachers became proficient in using Learning Village, student performance improved.
“It took a while to get teachers trained on the system,’’ said St. Lucie assistant superintendent Owen A. Roberts. “But eventually, we were able to take advantage of the fact that everything was in one accessible place.’’