Educators are seeing more laptops this year as Frederick County Public Schools recently switched to digital textbooks for many of it classes. But, not everyone is thrilled about the change.
"The internet isn't always reliable and some families can't access internet at home," says Paul Blanco, a seventh grader at
To voice their concerns about the technology push, students in the gifted program at the middle school wrote letters to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who supports all textbooks going digital.
"These students had some great feedback," says Richard Cullatta, Deputy Director of the Office of Education Technology for the U.S. Department of Education. "One of them was, we have got to do better about getting schools connected. Right now, we know only about 20-percent of schools in the country have the right amount of connectivity."
Students also said they don't always have internet or computer access outside of school. They say technical glitches often make simple assignments harder.
"We have to deal with the fact that in
However, some students say they prefer face-to-face lessons and a real textbook to hold.
"I like when my teacher shows me what to do and writes it up on the board," Blanco says. "Not just a video of just the computer showing me how to do it, like actual verbal communication."
"When the physical textbook, which I personally like more, is there in front of you, you can have it in your lap," says Elizabeth Trumm, an eighth grader. "You can flip the page. It's what I would prefer to have versus the online textbooks that we have now."
The middle school students say they are glad their voices are being heard and are making a difference in the digital transition.
"We didn't expect any reply at all and now this huge meeting," says Trumm. "It's really an honor to be able to participate in this."
The Department of Education plans to meet with Frederick County Public School Officials, who also attended the meeting, to plan for better digital access.