Over a long period of time, Westport would see a reduction in costs from using online textbooks, according to Superintendent of Schools Elliot Landon.
"With the Apple app. (application) we’re talking $15 for regular textbooks,” Landon said, adding larger books might be a bit more expensive. “I cant imagine our costs will go up -- they’ll go down.”
Board of Education member Mark Mathias was curious what ‘the numbers’ were in terms of costs, noting a reduction in costs would not be why he endorses the idea. Mathias was more interested in the benefit our students would see from having their text online. Students will also benefit from teachers having the ability to design a lesson using a critical lens specific to an individual class.
Board member Michael McGovern noted the substantial increase for textbooks included in the 2012-2013 school budget and wondered if the increase would be consistent in the future.
Assistant Superintendent for Business Nancy Harris noted the $20,000 increase in textbooks for 2012-2013 for alone. She attributed the raise in costs to the school's recent increase in students and need to replace old textbooks.
Board of Education Chair Don O’Day raised concern with obtaining quality products for our students. He questioned how Westport schools would find the best material out of the available selection of online literature.
“There are valued reviewer/critics who provide insight on the strengths in those programs for particular types of instruction,” Landon said, adding much insight about the quality of a product can be gained simply by conducting a Google search.
O'Day believes there are several ways students will benefit from online text:
- Online textbooks can be easily updated by the publisher.
- Students can't lose them.
- They can be be accessed from any computer with the proper security and passwords.
- They go a long way to reduce the weight of backpacks.
- They reduce costs long term.
"The downside is that students need access to a computer instead of being able to just pick up their text wherever they may be," O'Day said.