An article by Tamar Lewin appears in the New York Times today under the headline: “In a Digital Future, Textbooks Are History“. Lewin reports that
Textbooks have not gone the way of the scroll yet, but many educators say that it will not be long before they are replaced by digital versions — or supplanted altogether by lessons assembled from the wealth of free courseware, educational games, videos and projects on the Web.
This is interesting in many ways. For one thing, it underscores the necessity of having teachers who understand their subjects well. “Flexbooks” could greatly increase the importance of the teachers relative to state boards and legislatures. Consider, for example, the implicatiions for teaching under the Louisiana “Science Education” law.
On another note, I’m always interested in the way “that’s history” is used to say that something (or somebody) no longer exists. Cf. Faulkner in Requiem for a Nun (1951): “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”