How to Use Digital Textbooks in the Classroom 
Laptops and tablets have become staple school supplies, just below number two pencils and erasers. With the growth of technology in the classroom, there have also been major advancements in digital textbooks. The digital version of textbooks has allowed for a more immersive and engaging experience for both the students and teachers.
While students are not able to traditionally flip through print pages, digital textbooks have allowed for them to do so much more. Educators are now able to utilize the endless resources that the digital world has to offer, and the ability to have an eTextbook is just the beginning.
Ways to integrate the digital textbook into the classroom:
Bring concepts to life. The traditional classroom is shifting every year to involve more technology. Through technology and different forms of media, concepts are coming to life in front of students’ eyes. This is increasing the amount that students understand as well as increasing how much they want to learn. When a student is able to grasp a concept easier, they have more motivation to learn and understand other concepts. Today’s students are likely to quickly search for more information on topics that interest them and increasingly, teachers add video to teach, not just to entertain. Recent research shows that schools understand that tech isn’t just for engagement, it’s a foundational tool to deliver learning.
Simplify Subjects. Textbooks have been a traditional resource for students for hundreds of years. They provide accurate, up-to-date information, from experts, carefully laid out and paced to align with coursework. Teachers may follow the book from cover to cover or move through chapters to correspond to their curriculum. The best textbooks have features that encourage self-assessment, making connections, and helpful glossaries, charts, illustrations, and assignments. In digital format, students have all these traditional print features along with many others that vary by publisher and platform.
For example, searching within the book, completing embedded quizzes, taking notes, asking a question, connecting to a teacher’s assignment, and accessing media and other interactive features can support engagement and enrich the learning experience.
Take the blended approach. Blended learning is becoming more and more popular, and students are adapting very well to it. Blended learning is when the classroom is utilizing both an offline and online approach that are synchronized with one another. Using a digital textbook works well in this environment. Digital textbooks can easily support online and offline asynchronous learning, while keeping teachers, students, and Learning Management Systems (LMS) connected. Through online discussion boards, online quizzes, and other resources, educators will be able to make this happen.
Utilize digital storytelling. The digital world offers several different media types that help students understand a concept. Through animation, sound, or videos, educators are able to show a concept in various forms. For some students, just reading a few paragraphs won’t do it, but watching a video will help them fully understand the information.
Develop digital literacy skills. Increasingly, schools are teaching digital literacy skills to prepare students for a world in which they must evaluate online resources and use them wisely. It’s often assumed that kids and teens are better at using tech than teachers and parents, but this is a misconception. For career and college readiness, students will need to know how to reference online texts and use them to support their ideas in academic papers, applications, and business proposals. Digital textbooks are an excellent tool to use to begin to scaffold these skills for students.
Adding a digital textbook to the yearly school supply list is helping students and educators grow within and outside of the classroom. Incorporating the digital world allows students to learn with varied methods, giving them resources outside of their school and making the overall education process more engaging and ultimately preparing them for their digital futures.
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I purchased a textbook for a class earlier this year, 2021, and it did not function properly without adobe flash which has been EOL’d. I love digital textbooks but I am now concerned that they will not function as designed. Has anyone experienced this issue? Jones and Bartlett did not have a solution.
If you are a teacher and you have added an external link as an Overlay in a book in our reader, please ensure that the link host (e.g., https://yourwebsite.com) does not have flash. If it does, then please contact the owner of that site to let them know. We hope you have better luck with digital textbooks in the future. If you are interested in using TextbookHub at your school, please reach out.