For almost 100 years, people have been predicting the end of the use of textbooks in public schools. The cause for the decline of textbook use is often due to some new technology that will forever change classrooms.
For example, in 1913, Thomas Edison was a nay-sayer concerning the future of textbook use.
“Books will soon be obsolete in the schools,” he said. “Our school system will be completely changed in 10 years.”
Edison was talking about replacing textbooks with videos to teach students. Sure, we do use videos today in our classrooms, but textbooks are still the main source of information in most cases.
So, should we be surprised that many education leaders, such as U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, are now pushing for the use of laptops and digital books in the classroom? Using history as our source, the answer is no.