Having worked with many schools in our county and speaking with a lot of teachers, I always have thoughts about improvements for our schools.  Every day, thousands of unused, unopened textbooks are thrown away either to be landfilled or (possibly) recycled.  It is such a huge waste to see this because these textbooks are purchased with taxpayers dollars and then thrown away without any thought.  You might as well throw away cash into the trash can.

I wondered about this, why do we print so many textbooks and then why do we throw away textbooks?  What can we do to stop wasting resources and taxpayers’ money.  So here is my solution: Digital Textbooks.

Amazon.com sells a digital book called Kindle, where similar to the idea of an iPod, you purchase digital books instead of printed books.  Why can’t we do the same for our students?  Why can’t students purchase a “Digital Textbook” and download new book files?

In Korea, the digital textbook was developed as a study assistance tool in March 2007 and replaces the conventional paper textbooks.  The digital textbook can be updated without the need to wait for yearly revisions. The Korean government tested the use of the digital textbooks in elementary schools and it was proven that school records that were in middle or lower achievement had significant improvement.  Korea plans to adopt the Digital Textbook program nationwide by 2011.

If they can do it, why can’t Americans?  It will help save resources, provide students with a “green” alternative and something that they can enjoy using.  I would much rather carry one “book” then five.  There could very well be schools in the United States utilizing this option and I would love to know how it is working for them.

the author

Originally from Virginia, Jennifer C. Sellers is passionate about sustainability and conservation in South Carolina and throughout the world. She earned her BA in English from Coastal Carolina University and her MAS in Environmental Policy and Management from the University of Denver. She is a university sustainability coordinator that implements programs and teaches people about going green and being sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @MyGreenGlasses

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