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home : news : north central illinois   May 3, 2016

7/25/2013 5:01:00 PM
Tonica school moves toward digital textbooks

Amy Flanery
Lifestyle Editor

TONICA — Middle school students at Tonica Grade School next year will use digital textbooks in several of their classes.

The board of education approved a three-year commitment to the digital math books from Glencoe that the district piloted this past spring.

Superintendent-principal John Suarez called the move to digital texts “more economical and efficient.”

Junior high math classes used the digital textbook during the second semester last year as a free trial.

“We were able to see it in action,” Suarez said.

“It works really well with (educators’ networking website) Edmodo. That really, I think, puts us a little bit ahead of the game with technology.”

Students will be able to access the digital textbook on the school’s iPads and via the Internet from home.

The district will purchase a few paper copies of the textbook to ensure access for all students.

“We don’t want to punish kids who don’t have Internet access,” Suarez said.

The school plans to pilot Glencoe’s digital textbooks in middle school social studies, science, language arts and possibly health classes this year. Suarez said the company focused on state standards when creating the textbooks.

“It wasn’t just aligned to the Common Core; it’s built from the Common Core,” he said.
The new math books will cost $25.98 per student for digital copies and $39.99 per student for hard copies.

The digital copies receive automatic updates, Suarez said, making it much easier to keep textbooks from becoming outdated.

The board discussed the need for new textbooks in the elementary grades as well.
“Our teachers have done an excellent job in supplementing our outdated textbooks,” Suarez said.

As of now, only the middle school students have iPads available to them, but Suarez said the district may eventually purchase iPads for the lower grades, making digital textbooks an option for those classes as well.

“It’s definitely on the table,” he said.

The district also will incorporate a new preschool curriculum this year.
“It’s a research-based curriculum that’s data driven,” Suarez said. “It’s tied to the Common Core, so that the kids are really ready for kindergarten.”

Although Tonica has a tuition-based preschool not funded or held accountable by the state, Suarez said the district still wants to do what is best for the children. He said the new curriculum is part of a cohesive articulation plan to ensure students are prepared for high school when they graduate.

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