Old Textbooks and New Technology Cause a Shift in Education For SRHS Students

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Old Textbooks and New Technology Cause a Shift in Education For SRHS Students

A common message from the website.

A common message from the website.

A common message from the website.

A common message from the website.

Cindy Ruiz, Contributor

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This year, in San Rafael High School’s AP (Advanced Placement) Government class, students are having to use e-books instead of textbooks. That comes with both advantages and disadvantages. As textbooks become more outdated, students have to learn from other sources. Depending on technology for theses sources makes sense, except when the sources are not reliable.

Bobbi Brett, is teaching AP Government this year. She finds herself creating, buying or finding materials to make sure the needs of her students are being met. Even more so to keep up with the changing standards, like Common Core and the College Board.

The district’s way of providing funds for textbook is different every year. A subject is selected and given the money to earn new and updated books for each student. The math department earned new textbooks last year.

The school is holding off on getting hard copies of the AP Government textbook for one more year to make sure that its curriculum is truly aligned with the College Board standards.

Instead, they went with electronic textbooks, or e-books for short.

Mrs. Brett states that they are “piloting this year”, since this is the first time they are doing this in the Social Studies department. This means there is not set guidelines for her to follow or learn from. Students believe that they are the guinea pigs for e-books, as well as the class itself, since it has not been taught for 14 to 15 years.

The biggest struggle of the class is dealing with the technology aspects of it, which they have to get use to in order to be successful in the class.

“Not a lot of people know about technology,” says Jonathan Noh, a senior at SRHS who is taking the class this year. He added on that AP is already difficult as is.

“It has come up that not all students have access to computers at home, or if they do, they might not have wifi,” Mrs. Brett says. It’s harder for kids to get on if they do not have a computer because it is not available on a mobile device. That includes iPads and iPhones.

One student solved this issue by  borrowing a computer for his Thanksgiving break, to make sure he did not fall behind in his class. Even after that situation was fixed, their first test had to be postponed due to other students not being able to use the website.

The school gives kids the opportunity who do not have access to a computer at home to work on homework and schoolwork. They have computers to use during brunch or lunch in the library, and in the classroom with the Chromebooks.

Even if some students have working computers, they still receive notifications about the website not being supported by the web browser.

“There was a simple fix, but we didn’t know at the time,” Nelson Mazariegos, a senior at SRHS, says about the issue.

Another problem is that the students are using the internet to get to this textbook. This can lead to distractions while trying to complete practice tests, or when reading.

“I can get easily distracted because I have the whole internet by just clicking on another tab,” Jonathan says.

But there are also many benefits the students get with the use of e-books.

“Students reported to me after the first test that what helped them the most was the flashcard feature and the videos that go along with the text.” Ms. Brett says.

The website has several tools like adding comments and highlighting the text, unlike a school textbook which you cannot write on. One student said that there is an audiobook which helps them concentrate even more so than reading a regular textbook.

The e-book is also very interactive with the students by getting outside sources. “I like that she can post interviews and podcast for us to see and listen,” Nilo Benico, a senior who is also taking the class this year, says.

It would be easier for students to have a paper textbook, yet, again, we are living in a world where technology is constantly changing. Technology can only take us so far without causing effects for the future of the students.