State Senator John Albers Pushes Digital Learning
Georgia State Senator John Albers wants Georgia schools to go digital by 2020. Senator Albers is still working out the details of his bill, but pledged not to force local school districts to cover all costs of moving to digital materials. Educators across the country are moving toward classrooms based around technology, and the Obama administration last week committed more funding to expand high-speed Internet access and pledged to connect 99 percent of students through their school or library.
That could help solve one of the biggest problems for districts adopting digital materials, access. Senator Albers wants school districts to decide the best way for kids to use those materials. Other states have opted for a variety of laptops or tablets. Albers hopes to introduce the bill early in 2015.
Other states have used the deadline format that Albers has in mind. Florida lawmakers, for example, passed a bill requiring that districts use at least half of their textbook budget on digital materials starting in 2014 and increasing every year. The goal isn't to wipe out all paper or traditional materials but to urge more adoption.
The state faced some challenges along the way. Software tracking on quizzes and exercises had to communicate with existing programs. Florida districts also struggled to get more freedom from publishers, moving away from the traditional model of buying textbooks with accompanying CDs.
Supporters of adding more digital materials say students need to get accustomed to learning on a screen, not just being entertainment. As states develop new exams students will take on a computer, they will be more comfortable if they are learning digitally too.