Could Internet replace need for textbooks?
BUSHWICK (WABC) -- Some New York City students are learning to read in a new way, using lessons that are found online. And if the method takes off, schools could eventually save billions of dollars, because the materials are free.
Education Reporter Art McFarland has details.
Their teachers refer to the kindergarteners and first graders of the Achievement First Bushwick Charter School as "scholars."
In small groups, the kids are taught to read using exercises designed to make the process easier.
Teacher Dixon Deutsch finds the resources for his reading lessons, on the Web site, FreeReading.net.
"People can upload activities, you can take off activities, you can print off activities, it's right there," he said. "It's basically like a living and breathing textbook that you don't have to really move around."
Not only are the materials free online, but it would otherwise require lots of textbooks and cost a lot of money to teach these children some of the same material.
About $4.2 billion a year is spent, nationwide, on so-called "core textbooks" for grades K through 12. More than $4 billion is spent on supplemental materials, for a total of some $8.5 billion annually.
"And we want to make sure that, with today's technology, we can deliver high quality content at much lower cost," Wireless Generation co-founder Gregory Gunn said. "So schools can spend that money on other things they may find useful."
Wireless Generation is the company behind FreeReading.net, which admits to drawing the interest of young teachers toward marketing its profit-generating materials. But some educators see an advantage in online resources.
"You can look for things, specific things that you need to fill in the areas that your kids, based on assessments," Achievement First Bushwick Charter School principal Lizette Suxo said.
So, could it be that textbooks might someday become a thing of the past?
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