Textbooks of the Future
By David Warlick
That students will eventually use computers in place of traditional textbooks is almost certain. Just watch the eight-year-old children at your local elementary school pulling their backpacks (now on wheels). This makes no sense.
This year, my son, a high school sophomore, was able to choose between bringing home a traditional, 400 page, five-pound, paperbound book, and a one-half ounce optical CD-ROM. I was excited to hear of this, and equally disappointed when I finally had a chance to examine his choice, the CD-ROM. On his 17-inch monitor, I saw only minor differences between the digital and print versions. The content was three years old, just like the print version, and featured the same pictures with the same color.