Which State Will Be the First?
May 26, 2011 by Geoff Fletcher
Note: Doug Levin, SETDA executive director, is guest-posting this blog.
At the 2010 SETDA Education Forum, Blair Levin (senior fellow at the Aspen Institute and former Executive Director of the National Broadband Plan) challenged those in the audience to name the state that would be the first to shift completely from print to digital textbooks and content. As he wrote in a provocative July 2010 Washington Post editorial,
"Why are we still using ink-on-paper textbooks, when digital technology offers a much better way?"
Less than eight months later, it is clear that more than a dozen states have started to make that transition in earnest, and I strongly suspect we'll have his answer for sure in the proverbial blink of an eye.
While we've seen exciting changes in states from Maine to California and many places in between, it is hard not to be impressed with the commitment that the Florida State Board of Education and Florida legislators have shown to bring the future faster to the children of their state. Assuming a new law is signed by Governor Rick Scott, every district in Florida will have to have its books all-electronic by the 2015-2016 school year, plus they'll also have to spend at least half their instructional materials budgets on digital content.
And, while some have called the Florida law the boldest in the nation, I am not willing to bet that this race is won yet (especially when you have committed, savvy state education leaders like this hard at work right now in state capitols around the nation).
Where would you place your bet?