Digital 'tech books' discussed

What to do about outdated science textbooks in the elementary schools was discussed at an Enterprise Board of Education work session May 14.

Enterprise City Schools Director of Elementary Education Dr. Teri Prim and STEM—science, technology and mathematics—teacher Tiffany Fowler told those attending the work session that the science books being used at the elementary schools are “outdated and do not align with the current state science standards.

“The last science textbook adoption was the summer of 2013 when ECS adopted new text books for the junior high school and high school but not for the elementary schools,” Prim said. “The next science textbook adoption will be 2023 so we will be using these books unless we do something about it.”

The recommended solution is contracting with Discovery Education Science Tech book as a complete digital science resource at an estimated cost of $32,661, Prim said. “It is designed to engage students in real-world, inquiry based science.”

The tech book uses a variety of digital resources, including video, audio, text and interactive and hands-on experiences to meet the needs of students with different learning styles, Prim said.

“The benefits for the students includes that it has all of the contents of the actual textbook but it is updated and aligned to our next generation science standards which is what the Alabama course of study is based on as of 2015,” Fowler said. “The great thing about this tech book is that as soon as the Alabama standards change, the digital tech book automatically updates so we don’t have to ever worry about our content being out of date or not aligning to our standards.

“The benefit for students is that they get all the practice interacting with the digital tools, which is going to be necessary for them to succeed on the new state standard testing coming out,” Fowler said. “They can adjust their reading level so that it caters to their needs and it also allows them to change the language to Spanish if needed.”

The benefit for teachers is that it gives automatic feedback every time a student enters a response, according to Fowler. “It easily allows teachers to fix any misconceptions that the students have.”

Prim said that the cost of each tech book is $9 per student per year under the contract which is good for six years. Title 1 funds will pay for the tech books and the teacher training will be paid from the Elementary Instruction Funds account.

The next meeting of the EBOE is June 25 at the central office on Hutchinson Street. A work session begins at 5 p.m. and a voting meeting begins at 6 p.m. Both meetings are open to the public.

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