Officials consider digital textbook

Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. is considering digital options as it adopts new teaching resources.

Bill Jensen, director of secondary education, said a committee is examining a digital textbook among other options as the district prepares to adopt new teaching resources for English Language Arts and World Languages. The committee is set to recommend a resource at the school board’s April meeting, he said.

Although most of the district’s teaching resources are still text-based, many textbook companies are saying they won’t offer text-based resources for much longer as they make a shift to digital, Jensen said.

An 18-member committee recommended last week that the school district adopt the McGraw-Hill Wonders Reading/Writing Workshop as its resource for elementary reading and English Language Arts over the next six years.

Though the committee recommended a physical textbook, committee member Amanda Taylor, an instructional coach based at Taylorsville Elementary, told the school board that McGraw-Hill Wonders offers several digital tools and components that also can be accessed online.

Because the district adopts resources for six years, it has to think about future needs when making its selection, said Teresa Heiny, director of elementary education.

It is the committee’s goal to look forward to 2020 and 2021 and select a resource it thought would be adaptable, she said.

The district also has to think about how resources fit into its Universal Design for Learning framework, Jensen said.

Having both digital and text-based options for students meets those guidelines by addressing needs for different kinds of learners, he said.

It also follows the corporation’s move to one-to-one computing for students in Grades 3 to 8.

Those students will each be getting a district-owned computer after the school board in December approved borrowing $2 million at an interest rate of less than 1 percent to purchase 4,500 Chromebooks.