Market Focus: 'The Dog Ate My Homework' Just Doesn’t Fly Anymore
The (Digital) Learning Channel
District by district, technology is taking hold in American schools. Evans cites examples of students receiving homework by e-mail, then sending it back to their teachers to be graded. At the same time, as one district eliminates print textbooks and all students use laptops, another remains devoted to paper and ink.
Therefore, publishers have to be ready for students and districts who are technologically advanced, as well as those who are not, he says. (Evans points out that Evan-Moor is among the publishers that can provide electronic technology, including, for instance, lessons that can be projected from computers onto classroom whiteboards, which are similar to overhead projectors but can provide computer functionalities on the whiteboard screen that operate by touch instead of click.)
“A textbook no longer is a single print book, but a program that incorporates material in print, digital, audio and visual formats,” Mickey says.
“It’s a push-pull thing,” seconds Charlene Gaynor, chief executive officer of The Association of Educational Publishers, an organization that represents supplemental educational publishers. “I mean, there’s a lot of people who are real advocates of educational technology. But for a long period of time, the schools couldn’t do it because they didn’t have computers, [or] the school wasn’t wired for the Internet—there were all of these technology barriers. So the pioneers were ahead of the curve, and there were a few companies that were basically developing content strictly for the computer.
“There certainly was not a critical mass of schools [demanding this content] at that point,” Gaynor says. “But a lot of things have changed that have accelerated the potential. For example, there’s Wi-Fi now. You don’t need to have every computer plugged into the wall. It’s a lot easier to make even an old school building a wireless zone. So that’s No. 1; No. 2, computers have gone from this huge thing that needs to sit on a desk and be plugged in to these little battery-driven laptops that a kid can carry around; and, No. 3, the price has come down dramatically.”