While the drafts of the new curriculum proposed for elementary students in England does not specifically mention the incorporation of digital textbooks, the door has opened for the adoption of entirely new materials for the lower school grades. Set to go into effect in 2014, the new updated curricula for math, reading, and science gives textbook publishers the opportunity to develop new materials to meet these standards.
The new ambitious outline for learning is staged to help England meet the academic standards of some of the highest achieving countries in the world, but is also designed to help keep the students as educationally prepared as possible to go into the higher maths and sciences at the secondary school level. There will be a meeting later this summer to decide how to incorporate the teaching of foreign languages beginning at age seven, as well as recitation of memorized poetry beginning at age five.
More importantly, a much greater emphasis is being placed on helping students develop a love of recreational reading, a task that can be more readily fulfilled with the incorporation of e-readers into the classrooms. By giving students a simple handheld device that will store hundreds of books, schools expect the students to have better access to high interest reading material at a more cost effective price point.
Whereas other countries like South Korea have mandated the adoption of strictly digital textbooks for all grade levels by 2015, England is only making curricular changes at this point. But as the textbook publishers rethink their current materials to meet these standards and as those companies keep the material open in order to make upgrades, this would be a perfect time for England to also update its technology education standards by insisting on digital textbooks.