New online textbooks are a sign of the times

History teacher Jonathan York looks at a new online textbook, which all non-IB history teachers with receive.

When most students come home from school, they immediately go onto the Internet. Some log onto Facebook or Twitter without giving a thought to their homework, resulting in it never getting finished or even started. To solve the problem, could making textbooks available online help students actually do their homework?

Starting this school year, social studies textbooks will be available online for students to use. According to pre-IB government teacher Stratton Shartel, there will be new textbooks for U.S. History, World History and 12th grade government classes.

“We knew it was coming,” pre-IB World History teacher Joseph Valentino said. “They’ve been talking about it for years, so it didn’t come as a surprise.”

Though the online textbooks could eliminate the need for carrying textbooks back and forth from school to home everyday, some students don’t see it as a good idea.

”I think it’s a waste of time if we’re going to have a hard copy. There’s no point of having an online copy if you can get a hard copy,” sophomore Kiwon Suh said. “I wouldn’t use it.”

However, several students find it to be beneficial and a relief from the weight of carrying large textbooks to school.

“I would like schools to have online textbook resources because as high school students, we are given too many textbooks along with other necessary school supplies to take to and from school everyday, which could potentially shorten one’s lifespan because it would cause some sort of back complication ,“ senior James Bui said.

When it comes down to it, students would have to be willing to take advantage of these online resources for them to be useful. Sophomore Travis Swann believes that students won’t want to use these online textbooks.

“They won’t want to because they [students] don’t use textbooks in general.”

While online textbooks may be new to AHS, they are certainly not new to some college students. Since college textbooks are expensive and take a huge chunk out of young adults’ already thin wallets, professors are starting to turn to “open textbooks”, which are free online textbooks.

These “open textbooks” could change the way textbooks are made, produced and sold. Access to these books is free, and professors can even pay a small amount of money to get bound copies of the free textbooks found online.

According to USA Today, the price for college textbooks accounts for 26 percent of four-year university tuition and fees and over 60 percent of community college tuition and fees, so “open textbooks” could be the financial relief college students need.

College textbooks aside, AHS social studies teachers remain hopeful that this new advance in textbook technology will help their students.

“[If] the kids prefer reading and learning from online textbooks it’s good. Anything we can do to further their learning is always desirable,” Valentino said.