Raleigh, NC -- Dec. 16, 2004. A group of schools in 14 districts nationwide are turning to digital textbooks and libraries to replace hard copy books this school year. As part of a program with IBM and VitalSource Technologies, the schools are creating custom curricula and portable libraries for their students and teachers.
VitalSource is developing a Custom Curriculum Solution for each of the districts. Each curriculum is designed to meet the specific needs and educational objectives of those schools. For some schools, VitalSource is replacing textbooks. For others, VitalSource is being used to link primary documents, lesson plans and student assessments. At all of the schools, IBM preloads the VitalSource Technologies vitalsource KEY with Personal Portable Library, a non-customized solution, on education models of its ThinkPad notebooks and ThinkCentre desktops. The Personal Portable Library features more than 3,000 works including history books, art, maps and classic literature. The VitalSource Key is the interface for the texts.
One school that has adopted the Personal Portable Library powered by the VitalSource Key is the Carrollton School of Sacred Heart in Miami. All students at Carrollton have an IBM ThinkPad notebook, and the digital library enables educators to capitalize on their existing investment in technology. Now students in the school can use their notebooks to search, read and take notes on documents ranging from Plato's Republic to George W. Bush's inaugural speech.
"We want students to be able to carry around on their notebooks a library of rich resources customized to our curriculum," said Sister Suzanne Cooke, Headmistress at Carrollton. "VitalSource Key with the Custom Curriculum Solution allows us to do exactly that."
Schools, such as Carrollton, are turning to digital textbooks and libraries for a variety of reasons. Digital content gives students the most current information and can be continually updated. That's an advantage over hard copy books that are often out of date before they are issued. Digital delivery also enables schools to more effectively integrate state learning standards, lesson plans and electronic textbooks into the classroom.
Digital content can help to eliminate textbook shortages. Many school districts face book shortages because orders are typically limited to a percentage of the previous year's enrollment. In fast-growing school districts, this can leave some students without books.
Another advantage of digital content is reducing the need for students to carry heavy backpacks. The American Occupational Therapy Association has reported that the average student carries a backpack weighing almost one-fourth their body weight, and many students are suffering chronic back pain as a result. Students at schools using ThinkPad notebooks only need to carry a lightweight notebook to school, not an over-stuffed backpack.
"We are pleased to customize our product to meet the needs of a diverse group of innovative schools across the country," said Frank Daniels III, CEO and president of VitalSource. "Whether schools want to replace textbooks with electronic curriculum, integrate state learning standards correlations, provide supplemental reading material for students at a low cost, or simply capitalize on their technology investment by providing digital content, VitalSource can meet that need."
Schools participating in the consortium are: Rutherford County Schools, Murfreesboro, Tenn.; St. George's School and Lausanne School, both in Memphis, Tenn.; Charles County Schools, La Plata, Md.; Lakeview Academy, Gainesville, Ga.; Carrollton School of the Scared Heart, Miami Fla.; Clovis County Schools, Clovis Calif.; Eastside Union, San Jose, Calif.; Forney ISD, Forney, Texas; Dallas ISD, Dallas, Texas; Wake County Schools, Wake County, N.C., (at selected schools); Lexington Independent, Lexington, S.C.; St. Paul's Episcopal Schools, Mobile, Ala.; Muscogee County Schools, Muscogee, Ga.; and Lakeside School, Seattle, Wash.
VitalSource Technologies, Inc., a privately-owned and operated company, provides secure digital content solutions to the education market. The company delivers proprietary software solutions, commercial content delivery through its growing base of publisher partners, and custom curriculum solutions and consulting services. VitalSource solutions are available for a variety of programs in secondary, post-secondary and graduate education. For more information, please contact us via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.