March 11, 2018
Are Interactive Textbooks more beneficial than traditional textbooks?
Nowadays, everything can be accessed online or through a smartphone. It only makes sense that textbooks have also become digitized resources. There is now a new phase of online textbooks, that are called Interactive Textbooks.
Interactive Textbooks are online books that students cannot only read digitally, but also answer questions and work with digitally. Interactive textbooks, “Contain quizzes, allowing a secret key, the correct password or code after successfully answering all questions.” (Solcova, 2016, p. 111) They are somewhat like choose-your-own adventure books, just more academic. In order to use these interactive textbooks, student have to have a Interactive Response System (IRS) pen, that allows them to record information with the pen and in the pen. The IRS pen also allows students to have the book become verbal and speak to students, instead of having to just read the text. Interactive Textbooks have a lot of advancements that differentiate to different learner needs, but are they better than the traditional textbook in the traditional classroom setting?
A benefit of interactive textbooks is that is accessible to everyone, even if you cannot read. The book’s text can be enlarged as well as be spoken instead of having to use your eyes to read the words on the page. This allows younger students to read, “on their own,” even if they do not know how. The quizzes found in interactive notebooks allows teachers and parents to track student progress, and see where they are in relation to the content in the book. Another benefit of an interactive notebook is its style and content. Interactive notebooks have, “substantially less text than a traditional textbook [and] numerous animations and built-in tools.” (Solcova, 2016, p. 111 ) The material inside of an interactive notebook is more attractive and entertaining, which keeps the students attention for longer periods of time.
Even with all their advancements and universality, interactive notebooks do have some drawbacks. For one, in order to access all the benefits of an interactive notebook, you need to have the special IRS pen. This pen is a separate tool from the notebooks, which means it is probably bought separately. This is an extra cost that can cause a catch 22 when using interactive notebook; do not use the pen and lose out on the full scope of an interactive notebook, or by the pen which will cost money and be another technological tool that you have to take care of, keep track of and charge. Another setback with interactive notebooks is that it is not a tool used for learning new content, but rather a tool used for testing and curriculum review. So even if a student has an interactive notebook, she would still need to provided with a traditional textbook or any other materials required to learn the content.
Interactive notebooks have a lot of benefits that cannot be provided with a traditional textbook. But with that being said, interactive textbooks do not have the capability to completely replace traditional text. Like many other tools in technology, interactive textbooks have offered a lot of improvements in education and how students learn. But they are not up-to-date enough and adaptable enough to completely replace traditional textbooks. But one day, maybe with enough improvements, interactive textbooks could be the standard tool that is provided in every classroom!
Solcova, L. (July 2016). Interactive Textbook - A New Tool in Off-Line and On-Line Education. TOJET: The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 15, 111- 125. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1106413.pdf