textsbooksJeremy Brown | The Feather Online Archive

As a new school year arrives, students are asked to bring laptops and tablets to class to use online textbooks.

Students have recently been introduced to a new form of education: online textbooks. This system offers a number of different benefits, however, there have been a few complications. Starting this year many science, math and history classes have been introduced to online textbooks.

Even though students have been relieved of carrying their textbooks, many have experienced frustration while trying to access the school wifi because of the firewall.

Like other students, Roman Endicott, ’18, is taking classes requiring online textbooks. Endicott expressed his excitement about the new form textbooks.

“I feel that they are a good way of moving towards present technology,” Endicott said. “I like that it gives easy access, and we really don?t have to lug around those heavy textbooks anymore. It makes things a little more convenient, but on the other hand, it?s still the first few weeks of school. We?re still getting used to it, but it will make everybody?s lives a whole lot easier.”

Many of the students were frustrated while opening up their online textbooks for the first time. Joshua Oakley,’18, further describes the specific problems.

“The firewall blocked the textbook from loading among other tools we needed,” Oakley said. “So we were unable to view the textbook until the security certificate was given to the students.”

Reporter, Leslie Mann of The Chicago Tribune, also talks about the pros and cons of this new form of technological education.

Mann states that even though test scores between students that read online textbooks and students that read print textbooks were the same, this system gave many students eye strain. The other cons Mann stated were cost, technological problems, low battery life and even nausea.

As of Aug. 21, a new firewall has been up and running, making things much faster. IT Director, David Martens describes how the problems were solved.

“The main issue has been with the router, the firewall, and with the border of our network,” Martens said. “But as of Aug. 21, we have installed a new firewall which has solved the problems. You might have noticed that things have been running more smoothly, and we haven’t had the slowdown issues we had earlier.”

Katie Jacobson son, ’17, describes her new experience with the firewall, and enjoys the easy access of the new system.

“So far there is a considerable amount less of websites blocked by the firewall,” Jacobson said. “So whenever teachers want us to look something up something, it?s easier because we aren?t shut down by the firewall.”

Classmates can access these textbooks via websites, PDF files and Schoology. Schoology offers students access to homework, videos, pictures, documents and many other files shared by teachers on the internet. Head of Science Department, Dr. Karen Walters shares the online textbooks through Schoology.
“This year with our new technology, we?re trying to lighten the load on students? backpacks, and we have a couple of different tools available to us,” Walters said. “I have been using an online textbook that is from CK12, it is an editable, changeable textbook, that I can change to meet specific needs. I have been using these ?Flexbooks? from CK12, and I use that in schoology so students can go onto schoology, get their textbook, and read it without lugging home 50 pounds.”

Walters shares why she believes this system will work for the benefit of both students and teachers.

“Any material that I want the students to have, whether it?s a reading assignment, a worksheet or a lab, I can put it on Schoology.” Walters says. “Then they have access to it 24/7. You don?t have to wait to get to class to get your worksheet, because you can print it right off. It?s a good way to keep a dialog going on between students and teachers. That way you never feel like you?re missing out on anything.”

Follow The Feather via Twitter: @thefeather. This writer can be reached @jareds_the_name.

For more features, read the Aug. 29 article New teacher overcomes initial fears, aims to help students