At AES, we hear from a lot of teachers who are sick of using textbooks.
We hear it so often that we wanted to create this page for you, an administrator, so that you can hear what our community of teachers solve their problems too.
They may not dislike textbooks by design. More often than not, we hear that teachers just need something that’s up-to-date.
That’s easily one of the biggest problems in education today.
Textbooks are still the norm for most schools — but with the rapid pace of technology and research, textbooks are outdated the instant they’re printed.
So when students learn from textbooks, they’re learning outdated information from antiquated materials.
If you want the students in your school or district to get a quality education, it simply doesn’t make sense to teach with textbooks anymore!
So what can you use instead?
At AES, we recommend — and develop — digital curriculum.
A digital curriculum is an online learning platform that’s packed with curriculum resources, classroom management features, and the latest information.
It’s designed to help teachers work faster, smarter, and easier. As a result, teachers get more time to help students, try new teaching strategies, and create a learning environment in which their students thrive.
The seven quotes below come directly from teachers who use our digital curriculum to teach students in middle and high school.
This is why they’re happy they digital curriculum.
“A textbook, once it's published, is already outdated in health care." — Stephanie Oliver, Russellville High School, Alabama
Of all the things we hear about textbooks from our teachers, this is the most common.
Textbooks are good for about six months — maybe a year if a teacher is responsible for a subject that doesn’t experience much in the way of innovation or change.
But the fact of the matter is that textbooks just aren’t useful for that long.
They contain a ton of information, which you pay to have — and you pay a lot of money for that information. But will you use all of it?
In fact, your teachers will use a fraction of the information in their textbooks because most teachers tell us that they don’t teach from the textbook.
“When I was using textbooks, my Sundays were gone. Even just making tests and worksheets was labor-intensive.” — Scott Hayes, Rice High School, Texas
Textbooks are weird. They’re considered the gold standard of educational materials, but as far as we know, no one has ever enjoyed writing or reading a textbook.
That includes teachers.
They know that reading from a book is boring.
They know that talking about a book is boring.
It doesn’t matter if the information is accurate (or for how long) in this scenario. It matters whether the material is engaging.
Textbooks just aren’t.
After all, they’re just collections of printed words.
“My students like Business&ITCenter21 much better than the textbooks our district was using because of the interactive videos and ease of following directions.” — Marry Miller, Peabody-Burns Middle/High School, Kansas
As an administrator, you probably already know the stats on modern student attention spans.
If teachers are lucky, they can get a couple of minutes of attention out of students before their minds start to wander or they become disruptive.
That’s why teachers try new strategies and ideas all the time. And as much as they try, very few (if any) teachers will ever try a strategy like “read this textbook for 30 minutes.”
Textbook companies can dress up their pages all they want. They can use images, captions, bolded font, italics, and whatever else they want.
At the end of the day, it’s words on a page.
For today’s students, that’s a big problem.
“My students and I love HealthCenter21. They would kill me if I made them go back to PowerPoints and textbooks.” — Nancy Welch, Orange Technical College, Florida
This quote is a little extreme, but it makes a strong point.
Students just don’t engage with textbooks like they used to do. Even for students in the 1980s or 1990s, textbooks were on their way out.
Now, by the standards of hyper-evolving technology and an interconnected world, textbooks are dusty old fossils in terms of student interest.
Students don’t like reading them. They don’t like hauling them to and from class. They don’t like covering them in brown paper bags.
Students just don’t like textbooks.
And who can blame them?
With a world’s worth of information in their pocket at any time, why would they want to read old information when they can get the latest in the push of a few buttons?
That’s the crux of the next problem — textbooks are no longer reliable sources of information.
“I know the information in HealthCenter21 is being updated. It’s updated as new technologies are developed. You can’t do that with a textbook.” — Sue Lefler, Auburn Career Center, Ohio
We won’t say much in this section since we’ve touched on it in previous paragraphs.
Suffice it to say, the books you have in your office, school, and maybe even your hand are all outdated.
Something — no matter how big or small — is wrong in that textbook by the latest standards or information.
And yet you have to shell out thousands and thousands of taxpayer or private dollars to the same textbook companies every year, and they refuse to change the medium through which they operate.
Does that provide a quality education to your students?
Does that provide a superior quality of work for your teachers?
Compared to modern technologies, textbooks can actually make your teachers’ lives harder in several areas, including one crucial part of their work — collaboration.
“We have a total of eight teachers who teach the same curriculum, so Business&ITCenter21 will be a great resource for us to collaborate with each other. I would much rather have this than a textbook.” – Kimberly Gore, Valdosta High School, Georgia
The odds are strong that you have multiple teachers responsible for one subject area.
You probably have multiple English teachers, electives teachers, language teachers, etc.
That means they all have to coordinate to make sure they don’t repeat the same information for every grade level that they teach.
The sixth grade electives teacher and the ninth grade electives teacher have to be in sync to some degree so that they can provide the quality education that you want to foster in your school(s).
Teachers can do that with digital curriculum because it’s a built-in feature. The curriculum itself exists on the Internet where teachers can compare and contrast their lessons to minimize repetition and maximize information retention among students.
Textbooks just kind of…
It goes back to the old saying — if you want people to do something, make it easy for them.
Digital curriculum makes collaboration much easier than a textbook.
Besides, even if teachers could collaborate via textbooks somehow, let’s not forget one key problem that textbooks have had since their creation.
“HealthCenter21 allows students to become more independent learners by providing a learning platform that is easily accessible, consistent with most students’ learning preference — computers as opposed to textbooks.” — Adam Day, Jensen Beach High School, Florida
Textbooks aren’t written by teachers. Their information doesn’t include how to teach — just what to teach.
And if students have to read a textbook, are they going to understand it?
Textbooks are written by people who are trying to write on a generalized reading comprehension level.
In the era of IEPs and ultra-high state expectations, do you really have the luxury of gambling on a generalized resource like a textbook?
If you do, that’s fantastic. Most administrators don’t.
That’s why more and more administrators have been calling us to talk about digital curriculum.
They see what it can do for teachers. They see how teachers like it. They see hard data on how students respond to it.
Their jobs get easier. Teachers’ lives get easier. Students achieve more.
It’s the answer that the world of education has wanted for hundreds of years.
So how can you get it?
At AES, we want to make our digital curriculum systems available for anyone who wants to learn more.
If you want brass tacks, just click the product you're interested in to learn more and get in touch with one of our AES reps.
Pick your curriculum now!