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Marion County schools move toward digital textbooks

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Education Secretary Arne Duncan is pushing for schools to stop using printed textbooks within the next few years.

It’s not just a matter of keeping the curriculum current, Duncan said. Digital textbooks will help American students keep up with other countries’ students who consistently outperform them.

Peggy Finch, Marion County Coordinator for Instructional Materials and Charter Schools, said digital resources will help students today learn best.

“We need to teach the way the kids learn, and they learn digitally,” she said.

Finch said it’s impossible for Marion County schools to stop using printed textbooks completely because there are not enough digital resources for every student.

“We’re not moving away from printed textbooks because we don’t have a single school with a computer for every child,” Finch said in reference to Marion County.

Besides that, Finch said there are still benefits to hard copies: “I don’t want them to become obsolete because there are times it’s nice to have a book. We have students right now who are very, very bright, who have access to all the tech out there, who still want a book.

The combination of digital resources and printed textbooks will provide the best way to teach students, Finch said, and there is no set date for when Marion County will go paperless.

“The more avenues you have for reaching students, the better you’re going to be.”

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