- Even as digital content becomes more commonplace in classrooms, physical textbooks still have a place in helping to build structure and create an architecture for classroom curriculum.
- Textbooks can be used in both physical and digital formats, and the latter may allow teachers to pull details or sections they want to use, embed them into lessons, and bring some flexibility to their teaching, said Dennis Muizers, managing director of educator leadership development and membership services at ASCD.
- “This ‘drag and drop’ capability will also allow a teacher to differentiate the curriculum based upon the needs of students,” Muizers said.
Muizers said while textbooks are still “a core resource” for educators as they develop curriculum for their classes, it’s unusual for them to be the only resource teachers turn to during the school year.
Textbook companies are also aware of the fact that educators want to bring in other materials to enhance their lessons. So publishers often include options such as links to digital assets that teachers can use with students within their classroom lesson plans.
These digital add-ons may also help “save teachers time from searching for resources online,” said Muizers.
Another reason textbooks remain helpful for educators is that they offer a central resource that other teachers can turn to if they are working collaboratively across grades and subjects or are paired as team teachers. In this way, they act as a central hub, with other materials serving as spokes on the wheel.
Schools may also provide both options — a physical textbook for the classroom and a digital version accessed by students remotely.
Educators may need to augment textbooks because of learning standards. But adding more resources also expands the way students can engage with the subject they’re studying — by clicking into video and audio links, for example — and allows educators to bolster how they teach certain subjects and what students can learn.
Ultimately, online materials used in tandem with textbooks, whether in physical or digital formats, may broaden how students access and augment their learning.
These “different resources can enhance the likelihood of students being engaged and mastering the knowledge and skills intended,” said Muizers.