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Will Teachers need Text Books in the Future?

When most of today’s parents think back to their school days they will recall using text books in the majority of their lessons. Today, online resources are becoming much more common place in schools up and down the land

Row of textbooks for various school subjectsWhen most of today’s parents think back to their school days they will recall using text books in the majority of their lessons. The future educational landscape for their children is very different, though. Online resources are becoming much more common place in schools up and down the country. This begs the question, will teachers need text books in the future?

Recent research found that only one in 10 teachers now use text books in more than half of their lessons and 92 per cent believe they will be using online or digital resources in most of their lessons by 2020.

The NEU teaching union recently revealed that nearly three-quarters of members said spending on text books had been reduced by their school or college.

Will future schoolchildren use no books in class?

So, does that mean the next generation of schoolchildren will not be referring to physical books in class? Not necessarily, because sales of physical books have actually risen in the last year and there are still many advantages of pupils having a book in their hand as opposed to looking at material online.

Do text books bring better results in education?

There is a clear mindset within the current government to ensure that text books are still used in classrooms, with schools minister Nick Gibb particularly vocal on this. Mr Gibb says countries with better educational results, such as in the Far East, have achieved it partly because they make more use of text books.

What are the advantages of physical text books?

So, are there any advantages in using text books? Here are five reasons why physical text books are still used by teachers:

  1. Text books are industry-approved – approved school text books are written by qualified teachers and education experts so they can be relied upon to contain relevant material for the National Curriculum
  2. Students making notes from text books is an important skill to learn – the logical lay-out of physical books helps with research for essays and revision. Making notes is an important skill to have for university studies
  3. Students are able to remember specific passages and graphics from text books – research has shown that this is the case with text books. Clearly, this will help a child when it comes to sitting exams
  4. Text books are structured to make it easier for students to find relevant information in a chronological order – fewer reference books are sold as digital downloads because people like to be able to easily refer back to a page or check the index to find specific content
  5. Some text books include DVDs with extra audio or visual teaching aids – this gives a teacher or student the best of both worlds, a physical reference book, as well as online interactive learning material

What are the disadvantages of physical text books?

Stack of school textbooks for various subjects

Now we’ve looked at the advantages of physical text books, are there any disadvantages? Well, yes, there are. Here are five reasons why physical text books might continue to diminish:

  1. They are one-dimensional - online resources are interactive and more engaging for children so in some cases they are more beneficial to learning
  2. They are expensive – funding for schools falls every year so free or lower cost online resources would allow more of the budget to be spent on other materials
  3. Text books quickly become outdated – physical books for some subjects have a limited shelf life because of changes to the curriculum or developments in particular areas, such as history or geography. They can be easily updated online
  4. Modern life is becoming more digitally-orientated and using physical books doesn’t reflect this – today’s young people will research information online in the coming years, whether they are at home or in the workplace, and few are likely to consult a book
  5. Physical books are bulky and heavy – it is more difficult for teachers and students to carry around text books, with some being particularly weighty tomes. Online and digital resources weigh nothing at all and there is a huge advantage in the fact that they can be accessed anywhere

So, will teachers need text books in the future? It seems that they will for now but, in the long term, things may change.

Do you have any questions regarding education? Perhaps you want to find out about the National Curriculum or special educational needs? If so, you’ll find the answers on our Knowledge Bank page. What’s more, there’s also a section full of advice for parents which will give you tips on protecting your child from bullying, filling them with confidence or entertaining them in a way that helps them learn during the school holidays. It’s a valuable tool for any parent – why not have a look?

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