Upper Perkiomen High School Joins Districts Ditching Textbooks for Digital Learning

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As schools increasingly view textbooks as a weight on the backs of students and school budgets, they are quickly flipping the page to online learning.

Textbooks are not only weighing down students’ backpacks; they’re also weighing down school district budgets, and the enthusiasm to ditch textbooks in favor of digital resources for learning is reaching such a frenzied pace that one superintendent in the region said the trend is set to “grow exponentially as more schools post their learning materials online.”

That superintendent was Marc Bertrando of Garnet Valley High School, which is a pioneer of the switch to online curriculum alongside Downingtown Area School District and Upper Perkiomen High School, according to a Philly.com report by Kathy Boccella.

“What we are doing is having ownership of what we do in the classroom, which, frankly, in education is a dwindling right,” said Garnet Valley social studies teacher Christine Gumpert in the article.

The trend also fits with the next generation’s comfort level with digital devices, and it is saving school districts a lot of money — Garnet Valley spends $400,000 a year on textbooks.

Upper Perkiomen has transitioned all of its English and some science classes to textbook-free formats, thanks to emerging open online learning resources.

“If we develop our own U.S. history open educational resource, why couldn’t we share that with West Chester,” Bertrando asked, “and if West Chester builds an English open educational resource, why can’t they reach out to us?”

He envisions Garnet Valley without any textbooks five or 10 years from now.

Read much more about the trends and technology behind ditching traditional textbooks for digital learning on Philly.com here.

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Top photo credit: quinn.anya From Anton Chekhov to Anton Calculus via photopin (license)

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