The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Department of Education is hosting a meeting today with the goal of getting digital textbooks in every child’s hands in five years.  Karen Cator, the Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education, helped organize the meeting and provides energy and insight to the Departments focus on the shift to digital learning.

Cator says, “When people ask me what a digital textbook is, I say it is a bridge to a powerful new way to learn, a phenomenon that may be as significant as the invention of the printing press.”

In his blog, Jose Ferreira, CEO of Knewton, said, “When it is mature, online education will increase global access to education every bit as much as it took the printing press hundreds of years to do. But it will also do something the printing press, for all its revolutionary importance, did not do. Online education has the chance to vastly improve the content it distributes via extreme personalization.

“The FCC and Department of Education are doing an admirable job of spearheading this plan, said Ferreira, “both by bringing together stakeholders from across the digital ecosystem for meetings like today’s, as well as overseeing initiatives like the Digital Textbook Playbook, a roadmap to help teachers, administrators, and others tackle some of the particularly pervasive barriers to adoption.”

On Getting Smart, we talk about the post-textbook world and refer to engaging and adaptive content libraries that reside in learning platform ecosystems.  See Welcome to the Post Textbook World: Ten Elements. But we’re happy the Department is at least discussing the shift from print to digital.

Here’s the FCC meeting notice, where you can find a link to watch live. Here’s the Pearson release.

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