Saving Money with E-Textbooks


I think that schools will (at least for the most part) be going digital with their textbooks, if only for the costs.
A big meeting was held about digital textbooks into U.S. classrooms by the FCC and the Department of Education, included everyone from Apple to Intel to McGraw-Hill was in attendance.  Their finding were that doing so could save about $60 per student per year - something that could be a nice summative savings. I equate this to how Pres. J. Carter "found" so much oil, by having us use less such as by increased gas mileage.  I know that 60$ doesn't sound like much, although trying to get a 60$/student increase today would seem impossible, but remember how many students that there are and then start adding the years.

In my district if we could that would mean:
60 $/student
200,000 students in my school district
=12,000,000 $saving/year

At a school were the state just told us we had to cut 6 million dollars, a 12 million savings in a year, would be a great thing. Then we expand that as there are more than 49 million students in PK12 education in the U.S.,  so that $60 a student per year adds up real money — about $3 billion. I know that out of the whole budget that may not be much, but if it is economically helpful refinance a house because the interest rate has dropped by at least 1.5% then a savings of 2% sounds good to me.

One problem that I think of though when I read about such summits is who is there representing the open source textbooks? There is where I think that that 2% can increase, but we have the ongoing issues of no book reps. The national open textbook movement is growing, from CK12 flexbooks that came out of California to other states now starting to create their own digital textbooks.  To see if using Open Textbooks (even the print versions) there is the Open Textbook Cost Savings Calculator at http://opencontent.org/calculator/.




How much would schools save with a national switch to digital texts?
An analysis from the Federal Communications Commission shows that a switch to digital textbooks in every classroom could save schools $3 billion per year nationwide. Based on a number of assumptions related to the cost of technology in the future, officials believe going digital will save $60 per student per year -- or about 2% of annual spending per student. All Things D (3/29)




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