Wednesday, August 27, 2008

School officials suggest buying more online versions of books

Internet access may replace the purchase of texts, Martin says

By Lisa Boone-Wood Journal Reporter
Published: August 27, 2008

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school officials told the school board last night that buying more online subscriptions for social-studies textbooks might be a necessary next step.

While evaluating a tight budget earlier this year, school officials decided to buy classroom sets of social-studies books for sixth-and seventh-graders, instead of buying books for each student to take home.

After realizing that every book in the classroom set doesn't come with access to an online version, school officials suggested that buying an additional 82 online subscriptions, at a cost of about $5,000.

The additional subscriptions would be bought so more students can access the online textbooks outside of school.

Superintendent Don Martin said that every student has access to the books during the school day and can access online versions of books and other learning tools online if they have Internet access at home.

Students can also go to the more than 40 WinstonNet labs in local libraries and other locations to access the information, he said.

"It's kind of an experiment to see how that works," Martin said. "We will actually evaluate that at the end of the year. If it works well, we won't buy textbooks next year.

"I actually think the opportunity to not carry that big, old book back-and-forth and access the book online is interesting."

Martin told members of the school board last night that he has received several inquiries from parents about the online textbooks. "Everybody doesn't have a computer at home," he said, adding that another possibility in making the textbooks more readily available would be to use the old textbooks.

"We've had no one indicate that they want to go back to the old textbooks, but that is an option," he said.

■ Lisa Boone-Wood can be reached at 727-7232 or at
©2008 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General company.
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