What Role Should Textbooks Play in Education

What Role Should Textbooks Play in Education

What Role Should Textbooks Play in Education

1.Textbooks are particularly beneficial for new instructors who are just starting out. The content to be covered as well as the structure of each lesson are meticulously laid out in detail.
2.Textbooks are structured units of work that students may use. A textbook contains all of the ideas and lessons necessary to thoroughly cover a subject.
3.A textbook series presents material in a balanced and chronological manner.
Textbooks are a comprehensive sequence of instructional methods that tell you what to do and when to do it. They are also a source of inspiration. There are no surprises since everything has been well explained.
4.Using textbooks, administrators and instructors may implement a comprehensive curriculum. The series is usually based on the most up-to-date research and instructional methods.

Should you use a textbook to educate your students? Or do you depend on other sources of information? You may find the solution here.


This course will examine the textbook as a teaching tool, discussing its benefits and drawbacks, as well as strategies for incorporating additional materials into your lesson planning. Teachers who are just starting out may find this material especially useful. Contains recommendations such as how to use the textbook as a guide for students, how to complement the textbook with other readings, and other related ideas



Textbooks Have Both Pros and Cons, as You Can See

You’ll undoubtedly note that most, if not all, of the classes you visit are using a conventional textbook series as a basis for their instruction. A variety of factors contribute to this, depending on the design and emphasis of the curriculum, the requirements of the administration, and/or the degree of competence on the side of classroom instructors in any particular situation.



In the field of education, a textbook is a compilation of information, ideas, and principles about a certain subject or course. It is often authored by one or more instructors, college professors, or education specialists who are recognized as authority in a certain area of study. Teachers’ guides accompany the majority of textbooks. These guides include additional teaching resources, ideas, and activities that may be used over the course of the academic year.


Textbooks offer you with a number of benefits in the classroom, including:


Textbooks are particularly beneficial for new instructors who are just getting started. The content to be covered as well as the structure of each class are meticulously detailed in the syllabus.


Textbooks are structured units of work that students may follow. A textbook provides you with all of the lesson ideas and activities you’ll need to explore a subject in depth.


It is possible to learn more about a subject by reading a textbook series.


Textbooks are a comprehensive series of teaching methods that tell you what to do and when to do it. They are also referred to as instructional materials. There are no surprises since everything has been meticulously laid out.


Using textbooks, administrators and instructors may implement a comprehensive curriculum. The series is usually based on the most up-to-date research and instructional techniques.


The use of good textbooks as teaching tools is highly recommended. They are a valuable resource for both instructors and students alike.


Alarm for a fire

Some textbooks may be unable to pique the attention of students. It is very uncommon for students to reject textbooks simply because of what they are: compendiums of huge masses of material intended for big masses of students (compendiums of large masses of data for students). Students may find it challenging to comprehend the relevance of such a large amount of information to their own personal life.


Textbooks Should Be Used With Caution

When it comes to textbooks, they are only as good as the teachers who utilize them. In addition, it is critical to realize that a textbook is just one weapon in your teaching armory, although a very significant one. In certain cases, instructors place an excessive reliance on textbooks and fail to consider the use of additional aids or resources in the classroom. Because the textbook is out of current or does not adequately cover a topic or subject area, some instructors are reluctant to adopt a textbook-based method to learning.





There are a variety of choices you’ll have to make as a teacher, and one of them is how you want to utilize the textbook. Although textbooks seem to be a smart investment on the surface, they do have certain limits. Several of the most frequent flaws in textbooks are included in the following table, along with suggestions on how to overcome these problems.




Student Difficulties and Strategies for Overcoming Them

The textbook is intended to serve as the only source of knowledge for the students.

Students only perceive one side of a topic or problem when they are presented with it.

Ensure that students have access to a variety of information sources, such as commercial books, CD-ROMS, internet, encyclopedias, and other similar resources.



The textbook which is out of date.

The information provided to pupils is out of date and no longer applies.

Textbooks should be used sparingly or in conjunction with other resources.

Textbook questions are often of a modest degree of difficulty or fact-based in nature.

Students believe that education is just a collection of facts and numbers to be memorized.



Inquire about higher-level issues and engage students in creative thinking and problem-solving exercises.

The textbook does not take into consideration the pupils’ prior knowledge.

Lessons are not tailored to the individual characteristics and interests of pupils by the teacher.


Prior to presenting a subject, find out what pupils already know about it. Create the lesson plan based on your understanding of the subject matter.

The textbook’s reading level is much too tough for most people.

Students cannot read or comprehend complex ideas that are essential to them.

Take use of other resources, such as library books, the Internet, CD-ROMs, and so on.

All of the answers to all of the questions may be found in the textbook.

Students have a tendency to see learning as a collection of right answers to questions.

Make sure to include kids in problem-solving tasks, higher-level thinking questions, and extending exercises.


Consider a text book to be a tool.

I prefer to think of textbooks as tools, and that they are only as good as the person who is utilizing them to learn from them. An expert carpenter may use a hammer to build anything from a huge cathedral to a beautiful piece of furniture, depending on their skill level. Someone else’s hands may produce a dilapidated hut or an ill-fitting seat as a consequence of their efforts. There are a variety of variables that will influence your decision to utilize textbooks.


Why textbooks are vital to every child’s education

The school system in South Africa is in turmoil. Its youngsters are illiterate and numerically deficient. There is a severe shortage of equipment, infrastructure, and even basic needs such

Could increasing textbook availability make a meaningful impact here?

Yes. Books matter. Hence their absence from one province’s schools in 2012. That year, the Department of Basic Education failed to provide textbooks to students in Limpopo.

Section27, a public interest legal center focused on health and education rights, and the government went to court over it.


The court ruled in Section27’s favor, ordering the government to rush textbooks to Limpopo schools. That wasn’t the end. A lack of textbooks in the province prompted Section27 to file a fresh application on behalf of our clients, Basic Education for All and many Limpopo schools, in 2014.

Mr Tuchten found that the department had breached the children’s entitlement to a basic education in May 2014. Tuchten instructed the department to provide every student a textbook before the start of the school year. The agency challenged the decision to the Supreme Court of Appeal.


Tuchten ruled:

Textbooks have been part of education for ages. A book is unique. It has a far longer life than the reader. It is a low-tech gadget. Anyone who can read the language in which it is written may access it. During daytime hours, it may be read (accessed) without any additional equipment. It just requires a piece of tape every now and again.

Educators in South Africa agree. They discovered a link between textbook availability and student performance. Here’s why textbooks matter in a nation like South Africa.



Poor educational results in SA
A child’s low academic performance is difficult to pin down. But many believe that access to textbooks helps enhance performance.

A research comprising 15 African nations, including South Africa, Kenya, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Malawi, and Uganda, gave arithmetic and reading exams to Grade 6 students (average age 12).



According to a study by Stellenbosch University economist Nic Spaull, 27% of South African Grade 6 students were functionally illiterate and 40% functionally innumerate. Across South Africa’s nine provinces, the figures varied. Limpopo had the worst reading test scores, with 49% of Grade 6 students declared functionally illiterate.

Spaull’s study looked at the effect of textbook availability on student achievement. Learning with their own textbooks, or sharing with just one other student, “performs substantially better” than sharing with more than one other student.

content knowledge


The Department of Basic Education claimed that textbooks may be replaced by instructors in the Limpopo case. Contrary to current research Many instructors lack topic content expertise.



The pan-African survey found that just 32% of South African instructors knew the necessary material.

A textbook’s main purpose is to aid the teaching and learning of a topic. Against the background of inadequate teacher context knowledge, textbooks are essential in bridging the gap.



Cultural norms
Researchers have looked at the value of “cultural capital” in education. This refers to family literacy and school readiness activities in households and communities. Exposure to books and other written materials is also included.

However, according to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, just 14% of South Africans actively read books, and only 5% of parents read to their children.

Textbooks may help students who lack access to books at home.

There is no “magic bullet” for South Africa’s educational issues. But it’s obvious that access to textbooks is part of the answer. Books matter. They are vital in addressing some of the larger structural deficiencies in education.

Textbooks play a variety of functions.

The textbook serves three primary functions in the classroom, according to the author:


A role in the dissemination of information, which implies that:

In order to make information accessible and understandable to students at the appropriate level, it is necessary to filter items of information in order to synthesize them, sometimes simplify them, and make them accessible and understandable to students at the appropriate level.



The textbook provides information and knowledge, but it does so from an ideological standpoint, which may include the relative significance of science and technology, a notion of history, or established language standards, among other things, The way a textbook is designed may influence the material that is included in it and make it seem inappropriate for particular historical circumstances or for specific socio-economic or cultural goals specified by development strategy, as well as for certain historical situations.



Instructing and arranging learning 

It is suggested in the textbook that students move through the learning process in blocks of teaching units that are arranged in succession. As a means of organizing learning, it provides a number of options:

Practical experience is followed by theoretical elaboration; theoretical elaboration is followed by practical exercises, which include evaluation of what has been learned; practical exercises are followed by theoretical elaboration; statements are followed by examples and illustrations; examples and illustrations are followed by observation and analysis..


Guidance in learning 

To assist the student in developing his or her vision and understanding of the outside world, in putting together information gained from sources other than the curriculum, and in mastering what he or she has already learned. There are two options that may be utilized to direct the learning process, and any of them is acceptable:



– tasks involving repetition, memorization, and imitating models; – more open and creative activities in which the student may draw on his or her own experiences and insights.



Progress may be measured in a variety of ways depending on the subject:

For disciplines such as mathematics, science, reading and foreign languages, the restrictions are much more stringent.

– literary works, geography, and history are less constrained (chronological order).
The textbook may meet the following requirements, based on its pedagogical idea and the learning objectives:


– a more “interventionist” approach to the transmission of knowledge; this draws attention to the constraining influence of the textbook on teaching and learning; – a more “open” approach to the transmission of knowledge, facilitating the development of aptitudes for observation, reflection, and a certain degree of autonomy in his or her learning activities; – Good professional training will be required for the instructor to provide this kind of teaching.



Sometimes a particular perspective of communication and interactions between children, adults, and students is expressed in a textbook.


Use of textbooks has many goals.

Both the instructor and the student may benefit from the use of a textbook as a learning tool. The character of the textbook as a communication tool will be determined by the choices made in this regard, including the language used, the amount and quality of information provided, the text, the illustrations, and the connections between the latter two components, among other factors.


 In general, textbooks for students are given top attention in the least developed nations. To assist instructors in their classrooms, a teacher’s handbook has been developed, which varies in nature from school textbooks.

The option of using specific textbook components in a group setting (for example, a class) may also be explored; this can save production costs by sharing pictures, maps, and diagrams between the group.


Schooling for Teachers

Ideally, the development of textbooks and the training of instructors should be linked in such a way that teachers are able to utilize the books that are made accessible to students in the most effective manner possible in the classroom. As a result, it is necessary to examine the kind of education for which instructors are educated as well as their credentials. Pedagogy-inspired textbooks that allow little room for student initiative may need teachers to supplement their textbooks with surveys, information gathering, practical work, and other activities.



It would also be imprudent to create textbooks of such a degree and complexity that they would prevent the instructor from taking full use of all of their potential. Because of this, they should be tailored to the average abilities of instructors, keeping in mind that textbooks may be a valuable tool for less qualified teachers to enhance their training and, therefore, their teaching.


Those who are involved in the development of the textbook
Instructive materials like as textbooks are vital, but their creation is frequently prohibitively costly, especially at the elementary and secondary levels. This means that their development must be tailored to meet the specific requirements of teaching and learning. 


Especially in the publication process, textbook authors play a critical role in the success of activities that take place after the submission of the manuscript and in the quality of the final product. Several talents and abilities should be had by authors:

Knowledge of the subject matter for which the textbook will be used is required, as is proficiency in writing in a clear and accurate manner;



Teaching experience and understanding of pedagogy are essential.

In addition, the capacity to assess the level and complexity of a textbook in line with the requirements of instructors, their credentials, and the socio-cultural features of the students;



For example, creating a school textbook requires a lot of endurance and persistence.

readiness to take criticism and engage in a rational discussion about it



– be aware of the responsibilities and expectations of his other book-production partners, including those in charge of curriculum, illustrators, book designers, and publishers, among others. His knowledge of how to account for financial limitations that may arise as a consequence of budgetary allocations for the book is essential.



All of these talents and skills are required in order to avoid, or at the very least minimize the chance of, unsatisfactory outcomes that may jeopardize the overall quality of the manuscript. For example, one method of evaluating an author, particularly one who is writing his or her first book, is to ask him or her for a comprehensive description of the future textbook, and then to write a few brief chapters or paragraphs to judge the quality of his or her writing.



Experienced teachers with a strong foundation in their subject area and specialized training are more often than not employed as school textbook writers. Other types of educators who write for schools include school inspectors, secondary or technical teachers, teachers employed by educational research institutes, and university professors. It is possible to create textbooks with the collaboration of experts from other fields, such as the health or agricultural fields.



Is it feasible to teach someone how to create textbooks in a structured environment? Personal dedication, drive, and applied creative handwriting are essential for this kind of job. In the event that such resources are available and professional qualifications are sufficient, seminars and training courses could be used to discuss problems of elaboration and teach potentially capable men and women how to seek out and use the fundamental material and elements that make up a good textbook. Specialist consultants may offer assistance, guidance, and technique for the development of school textbooks as part of school book production initiatives.

When Will School Textbooks Be Obsolete?

What method do you use to receive your news? Do you want to check your bank balance? Where can I get recipes? It’s likely that you look for this kind of information on the internet. 


According to Bill Gates, a growing number of instructors and students are using the internet to educate and learn, as well as to collaborate. That, he argues, heralds the end of the traditional textbook era.



The Development of the Classroom-Based Learning Model

During his and wife Melinda’s 2019 Annual Letter, in which they discuss nine “surprises” that occurred in 2018, Gates made this contentious forecast. Surprise number eight shows that “textbooks are becoming outdated,” in part because “software is altering the way pupils study,” according to the researcher.



The Reasons for Eliminating Textbooks According to Bill Gates

He claims that reading textbooks is “a restricted method to learn anything,” and that it is less successful than studying online, which Gates believes is true. It is possible to argue that Gates is biased when it comes to the importance and relevance of computers over textbooks because he founded the company; however, he no longer runs the company and donates the majority of his stock shares in it, so promoting the company was most likely not his motivation.



Software learning, according to him, enables students to read material online while also seeing how-to videos, playing games to reinforce ideas, and taking quizzes. Based on the questions the student answers correctly and incorrectly on the tests, the program automatically “figures out” the topics he or she is having difficulty understanding. The program then customizes material to assist the learner in grasping the topics with which he or she is having difficulty.


And, according to him, there’s more. Detailed reports on what each student accomplished, how much time they spent, what they got right and incorrect, and what they need further assistance or feedback on are also sent to the kids’ instructors by way of the program. As Gates points out in his letter, “Even the greatest text cannot distinguish between which ideas you grasp and which ones need further assistance.” “It can’t inform your instructor how well you comprehended the reading assignment from last night,” says the author.



Without a doubt, digital learning is a very useful instructional tool. Should it, however, completely replace the time-honored textbook model?


What Are the Consequences of Eliminating Textbooks?

The textbook, on the other hand, is standard practice in classrooms all across the globe (and is still a part of online learning curriculum). One of the reasons schools continue to utilize them is because they may be very cost-efficient. Several textbooks (for topics such as arithmetic and English, for example) may be used year after year, according to a Forbes article, since the ideas and content are seldom changed.



Software learning programs may feature subscription services that need the purchase of yearly licenses by educational institutions. Furthermore, finances are tight in the majority of school districts. Also advantageous is the fact that textbooks are readily transportable and may be utilized at home by all students, while not all students in traditional brick-and-mortar schools have access to computers at home. Not to mention, removing textbooks will fundamentally alter the way in which instructors teach, manage their classes, and organize their lessons. Students and instructors both enjoy the convenience of having certain information in printed form, and textbooks provide that. All of these considerations must be taken into account.



Taking Classes Online

Do you, as a parent, believe that textbooks are critical to your children’s education? If so, why? What are your thoughts on the possibility of your children attending schools where they will not be provided with textbooks? 


In case you are fascinated by the idea of your children studying using up-to-date software and engaging activities, you may wish to investigate the possibility of online learning at home. Virtual schools hosted by K12 offers online classes and interactive activities that are combined with non-computer activities that are done using materials supplied by K12. For additional information and to locate a school in your region, go to K12.com.

Perhaps if textbooks were removed from classrooms, kids would not moan about having lighter bags to carry about with them.

When it comes to textbooks, this study looks at how instructors are using technology into their lessons. 



A small-scale pilot study with eight higher education teachers in Australia is reported in this paper after discussions of student expectations and needs, textbook use, and the advantages of modern technology are discussed. The paper concludes with a discussion of the future of textbook use in higher education in the digital age, followed by recommendations. This research reveals that textbooks are widely regarded as trustworthy learning resources that offer creditable material that supports and improves students’ comprehension of key ideas, and that they provide information in little bite-size pieces to reinforce student learning.



Statement of Public Concern

It is the purpose of this study to investigate the usage of textbooks in academic settings in the digital era. A small-scale pilot study conducted by eight higher education professors in Australia on the use of textbooks in higher education in the digital era is reported in the article after discussions of student expectations and requirements, textbook use and the advantages of contemporary technology are discussed. 



This research reveals that textbooks are widely regarded as trustworthy learning resources that offer creditable material that supports and improves students’ comprehension of key ideas, and that they provide information in little bite-size pieces to reinforce student learning.



1. Today’s student in the digital era has a variety of options.

Student life hasn’t changed much since the past, but the technology that students now have at their disposal, practically at their fingers, has altered significantly. Students nowadays have the ability to multitask, have continual internet access, and have grown reliant on a steady stream of information. They prefer using their smartphones and tablets to access and save information, rather than computers (Grajek, 2013).



In situations where young people have a strong feeling of communities of importance (at least to them) connected in their own online spaces, as well as a natural desire to share and interact with others, the Web 2.0 has had a significant impact on their behavior. A large number of young people have become impulsive, demand quick access to information, feel the need for immediate answers, and take an indifferent attitude to evaluating information as a result of this phenomenon. When these behaviors are linked to learning, “one must recognize that students’ study habits are changing, and that new media devices and other technology are strongly engaged in the rearrangement of what types of studies are done where…”



 Involved in student learning are information, activities, connections, and resources that are becoming more fluid, and they are being combined in more complex ways” (Markauskaite & Goodyear, 2009, p. 615).



For years, students had to rely on their instructors (who had complete control over their knowledge) and the textbooks they used to get access to information. In contrast, however, “having unfettered access to a plethora of information and material on the internet is now expected: being digitally literate today implies being able to utilize suitable tools to locate meaningful, high-quality information in an efficient way,” according to the OECD (Panto & Comas-Quinn, 2013, p. 2).




 In 2008, Palfrey and Gasser (2008) used the term “digital natives” to describe people who have grown up with computers who are proficient at obtaining and manipulating information. It has been observed that students have transitioned from consuming information accessible through the internet to creating material and participating in multi-user shared ecosystems (Ito, 2010). (Tapscott, 2009). Student expectations for online community participation include the ability to connect with and work with others as creators, which has consequences for the techniques and resources utilized to educate them.



2. Worlds that are colliding

When children enter school, they enter a world that has been built on norms that promote hierarchy, are conservative, rigid, clearly defined, and intentional in their design. Secondary students (and, to a lesser extent, some primary school students) essentially coexist in two worlds: the student world (in which they use their primary discourse) and the school world (in which they use their secondary discourse). This is because the student and personal/social identities are separated. In the meanwhile, just as the nature and use of learning tools are changing, so too is the world of education. Students do not demand change at this time, but rather make adjustments to their responses in order to accomplish the tasks required by school and higher education institutions.



Constructionism and beyond as a learning strategy

Observable patterns in education indicate that learning is a continuous process that takes place in a variety of settings, including communities of practice, individual networks, and culminating events. Historically, students in higher education have worked in a networked environment, where they assess the relevance of information and establish connections with other students, create networks of their own and utilize their own agency to find, analyze, and produce new knowledge (Fasso, Knight, & Knight, 2013, 2014). Today’s students, whether they are using textbooks or digital learning tools, still need scaffolding, assistance, and direction.



In the context of online higher education learning, I endorse a sociocultural perspective of learning that argues that “learning, thinking, and motivation are essentially social in character and have their roots in the social environment, particularly in social interactions among individuals” (Horsley & Walker, 2013, p. 81). Because educational activities that include social contact have greater effect (Bruner & Haste, 2010), online designs must provide conditions that allow students to engage in meaningful activities that contribute to their growth within a community of social practice.



By harnessing the potential of Web 2.0 technology, social constructivism (Vygotsky, 1978) is able to support current learning. Through online communities, social networking technologies have an impact on cultural practices of learning. Involved learners are those that actively participate in the learning process when they connect and engage with one another via the use of technology to share information in order to build personal meaningful knowledge through culturally organized activities.



Due to the fact that technological tools are obviously impacting how knowledge is handled in the digital era, connectivism (Siemens, 2004) extends social constructivism by giving an indication of the abilities that learners will need in order to grow and survive in the digital era. “Know-how and know-what are being complemented with know-where (the awareness of where to obtain the information required)” explains the author (Siemens, 2004, on-line). Identifying useful information from digital resources, deciphering the code, and putting it into action by linking it to other knowledge domains is the learner’s difficulty.



According to the author, “Connectivism is motivated by the recognition that choices are made on constantly shifting foundations…. The capacity to distinguish between essential and inconsequential information is critical” (Siemens, 2004, on-line). Develop and maintain links to promote learning; that learning may be intrinsic in technological advancement; and a succession of knowledge development to assist learners in staying current in their field are some of the assumptions of connectivism. In accordance with connectivist theory (Kop & Hill, 2008), people establish connections with nodes of information that are distributed throughout an information network that contains both human and non-human nodes of information, making it relevant to learning in online learning environments.



Textbooks are being used.

The usage of prescribed textbooks has been common in Education 1.0 to combine disciplinary information and to assist instructors in the development of students’ learning objectives (Fasso et al., 2014). Almost all courses in Science, Mathematics, Business, and Education, according to a major Australian research on textbook usage in higher education institutions, prescribed a textbook as being necessary for student learning, according to the study findings (Horsley, Knight, & Huntly, 2010). To perform the “hard lifting” of comprehending concepts essential to a subject, students have been urged to use authoritative sources such as textbooks (Knight & Horsley, 2013).




Sales data from commercial Australian publishers covering the years 2007–2010 indicate that expenditure on textbooks has remained steady across most disciplines, despite the growing availability of digital materials in the marketplace (Knight, 2013; Knight & Horsley, 2013). The necessity for education to go beyond one source of knowledge, such as a text book, arises when students increasingly network with many sources of information. When utilized as a single part of high-quality teaching, a textbook must have the flexibility to synthesize information and be adaptable to changing conditions.




To support online learning, the textbook is an important component of the instructional design. Students’ cognitive abilities are guided by texts, according to a model presented by Murphy, Mahoney and colleagues (2005). The approach involves the use of a text to assist the development of students’ cognitive skills. Additionally, under Salmon’s (2002) model for online education, a textbook is required to assist in information sharing and knowledge building, allowing students to become more actively involved in the learning process. Textbooks were defined in the current research as organized textual and visual material delivered in a digital format.



Using textbook typology as an example, Knight and Horsley (2011, 2013) argue that textbooks are essential in terms of the extent to which instructors and students utilize them in class. The four categories of integrated resource, core resource, related resource, and peripheral resource have been established based on a study of intended usage. The integrated resource category includes all resources that are incorporated into the core resource.



With regard to core integration, the textbook outlines the course’s scope, sequencing, and learning activities, with learning management system materials serving as a supplement to the text. Bookstore textbooks, when utilized as a primary resource, play an important role in determining the framework of the course, with course outlines corresponding to certain parts of a textbook. Described as a linked resource, textbooks play an important role in providing a diverse variety of resources to assist student learning, with textbooks serving as one of such resources. Finally, textbooks that serve as background reading are referred to as reference or peripheral resources, and they would be considered optional in this situation.




When investigating the function of the textbook in online learning environments, the typology of textbook usage may be useful. Depending on the degree of reliance on the environment, Bell et al. (2002) classified learning spaces into three types: passive, active, and hybrid.


Textbooks and the opportunities provided by technology

In many respects, technology facilitates greater contact and cooperation at any time, creating possibilities for idea exchange across classes, geographical regions, educational institutions, and other organizations. 


Information and technological change has occurred at a rapid pace, with the transition from Education 1.0 for the agricultural age to Education 2.0 for the industrial age, and then to Education 3.0, which builds on the information locating skills of learners acquired in Education 2.0 to endorse them as knowledge producers in the information age. There has been a fundamental change in pedagogy toward one that is personalized, networked, and customized, with material that is easily accessible and freely available (Keats & Schmidt, 2007). 



Education 4.0 enables students to develop and generate innovations by forming learning communities and networking with one another (Fasso et al., 2014). The design and administration of learning environments is becoming more essential since students may now access virtual classrooms, digital textbooks, and a range of other learning aids online from a number of locations at any time of day or night (Goodyear, 2010). Teachers must guarantee that the learning environment makes use of the latest technological advances.

While technology has had an effect on student behaviors and unique learning preferences, one thing that has remained constant is the critical requirement for reliable material in the learning environment. 



Technology is pointless if it is not accompanied by valuable content. The most useful educational technologies will be those that are based on trustworthy content and use technology to assist students in manipulating the resources and participating in the instruction.



Only one element of learning design is concerned with the selection of resources (for example, textbooks and other sources). Some other considerations are interactivity (between individuals and technology), which promotes students’ agency and engagement, e-moderating (which assists learners in the development of cognitive skills, including feedback and general communication), and how technology and resources are used to influence the learning experiences. The textbook is the primary source of information in this article.




Textbooks have been used to improve instruction in a wide range of subjects at all levels of education for a long period of time. In the conventional method of passing knowledge to the student via the textbook, the learner is seen as a passive receiver of the information. The banking model described by Freire (1996) is “… in which the students serve as depositories and the instructor serves as depositor” (p. 53).



It is possible to utilize Web 2.0 technologies, which allow features such as two-way collaborative communication, content creation and sharing, and networking (Keats & Schmidt, 2007), to encourage active learning across place and time zones and a shift to a learner-centered learning environment. Rather from being the driving force behind education, technology-enabled tools encourage learners to use their rights to choice, flexibility, and self-direction (McLoughlin & Lee, 2011).




To take use of the capabilities of Web 2.0 technologies and therefore engage with digital resources necessitates a shift in participants’ attitudes from one of consuming to one of producing resources (Downes, 2006). The combined strength of a group may be utilized to produce knowledge that is more complex and powerful than the sum of its members’ individual contributions. Individuals who are able to engage in the sociocultural activities of a society, as well as make significant contributions to that community as knowledge producers As will be discussed in more detail in the next portion of the article, such involvement entails students interacting with textbooks and resources in the learning community.



Engagement is number.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, student engagement is defined as “active and collaborative learning, participation in challenging academic activities, formative communication with teaching staff, involvement in enriching educational experiences, and a sense of legitimacy and support from university learning communities” (Coates, 2007, p. 122). 


The use of technology for pleasure, according to McCrae (2012), is fundamentally distinct from the digital literacy abilities required for participation in a higher education environment. They must utilize technology to not just obtain information, but also identify, analyze, and evaluate it (Koutropoulos, 2011), in order to “become competent at creative self-expression, and critical reasoning in a variety of media” (Koutropoulos, 2011). (Beetham, McGill, & Littlejohn, 2009, p. 72).



No one should expect that the mere presence of a textbook, supplementary materials, and technological tools would result in an improvement in the overall quality of the teaching and learning experience. What matters most is how students perceive and utilize materials, since this is the key to realizing the full potential of textbooks in a digital environment. In a social constructivist paradigm, engagement is not only about the student; rather, it is about the learning community coming together and the resultant networking improving the learning experience.



A dynamic community of practice, defined as “groups of individuals who share a concern or a love for what they do and learn how to do it better as they connect on a regular basis,” is essential for engagement (Wenger, 2009). It is necessary to share information and resources in order to build an active community of practice. To assist in the distribution of information, Wenger, White, and Smith (2009) developed seven principles for supporting communities of practice, which include: designing for future growth, promoting communication, inviting different levels of participation, developing public and private community spaces, creating value for participants, combining familiarity and enthusiasm to sustain the community, and creating a “rhythm” for community members (p. 51).



Those who are learning now live in a digital age, where they have access to a broad variety of technologies that offer a diverse range of interactive resources for information and communication. As a community of practice, we promote an approach that encourages educators to design activities that enable students to seek out and generate knowledge on their own time.


 For example, including students in interactive electronic textbooks may help them get more hands-on learning experience. Instead of a PDF version of a conventional textbook, electronic textbooks may include interactive infographics and videos to encourage students to study more effectively. Students may interact with such textbooks, react, create, negotiate, co-construct, and share their findings with other members of the learning community, all while maintaining their academic integrity.



It was estimated that electronic books, which include textbooks as a subset of the electronic book format, accounted for 23 percent of publishing income in 2012, allowing the sector to grow revenue by 6 percent to AUS $6.7 billion. The challenge for textbook writers is to offer reliable, structured material that may be utilized by students to guide their own learning and decision-making (Knight & Horsley, 2013).


 Through the use of suitable Web 2.0 technologies, new networks and communities are formed, complete with personal spaces, group spaces, and publishing spaces, all of which may be utilized in teaching and learning situations. To begin with, critical issues for learning community members are to value all participants’ knowledge (which may necessitate a rethinking of traditional roles and relationships in the learning process); teach appropriate skills to ensure critical evaluation of information from a variety of sources; and place an emphasis on processes rather than content. An approach like this emphasizes the significance of human agency problems of control in the learning process.




The purpose of the study presented in this article is to get an understanding of instructors’ perspectives on the usage of textbooks in the digital era and the provision of instruction for twenty-first-century learners. As a beginning point for debate on the use of textbooks in teaching pedagogy and online learning, this small-scale study was considered to be a good starting point.



Using this initiative, we were able to collect information from instructors on how they were using textbooks in the digital era. The interpretive ethnography methodological framework is used in this investigation. Teachers responsible for the design of university courses, as well as for the selection and supply of teaching and learning materials to promote student growth, participated in exploratory interviews to round out the data collection.



The textbooks were being utilized and had been used by all of the instructors in their online courses, which included both undergraduate and graduate students. The instructors all had a minimum of five years of higher education teaching experience and a maximum of twenty-five years. Participants’ areas of competence included teacher education and nursing, among other things.. A research email explaining the aim of the study and inviting participants was sent to 20 university professors who were located on two separate campuses of a major regional institution. Following clearance by the ethics committee, eight instructors agreed to participate in the interview.



The questions for the interviews were derived from the literature in order to collect information on course design and the resources that assist course design in general. The questions were designed to uncover participants’ perceptions on the role of textbooks and the characteristics that are essential for students’ courses. Individual answers were pooled, analyzed, and presented as themes that emerged from the data collected during the interviews, which lasted about 15 minutes.



Discussion of the findings
 The function of a textbook

Textbooks were usually regarded as a dependable instrument to be used in conjunction with lecture notes to help students get a better grasp of key ideas and, as a result, expand their overall understanding. According to the answers, it is used for “following up on lectures and ideas”; “offering fundamental information, concepts, and abilities” [3 responses]; and “necessary pre-reading to ensure subject knowledge throughout the course.” In one response, the responder said that she did not utilize it as an organizer for the course, but rather as a “vast resource.”



It was recommended by the participants in this research that the textbook should not be considered a finished work, but rather as a source of important authoritative information for the disciplinary community of practice. Responses to specific questions revealed that the textbook was seen as a “reliable source of knowledge,” “a single consolidated reference source,” and “helpful in coordinating the fundamental emphasis of a course.” In addition, one respondent stated that textbooks are beneficial in t


The authors of Knight and Horsley (2011) established a centrality of textbook typology that is related to the extent to which instructors utilize textbooks in their courses, as previously mentioned. Typology was used to analyze the answers of the participants. Participant’s usage of textbooks varied depending on the field, whether they were undergraduate or postgraduate students, and their degree of knowledge, as shown by their responses (e.g. first-year and final-year student). 


Based on an analysis of intended use, respondents suggested a variety of applications, including use as a core resource [4], an integrated resource [3] with textbooks “essential for pre-readings and workshop activities,” and a related resource “because it does not directly relate to practice, which some of my subjects require,” among other things. The usage of textbooks as a secondary resource was not mentioned by any of the respondents.



It was interesting to learn from the participants that, based on their own experiences, undergraduate students rarely purchase textbooks after their first year, even when the textbook is used as an integrated resource where “weekly readings of the course are linked directly to the textbook—students simply don’t do it.” 


Another participant said that “undergrad students still have a tendency to print out all materials in order to read them in print.” One other participant commented on this finding, stating that “the textbook I used this year in a postgraduate course [with only 14 students] was available in both hard copy and as an ebook, with half of the students purchasing hard copy [so they didn’t have to print] and the other half purchasing an ebook.” Similar results have been reported by Zucker (2012), who found that students who preferred electronic copies of textbooks found it easier to explore digital material and simpler to meet instructor expectations, as well as to participate more actively in classroom activities. 


While some are comfortable navigating and working in an online environment, others are not so confident.



E-textbooks have a number of characteristics.

Most respondents agreed that elements such as “cement learning and declarative knowledge” were needed in electronic textbooks. “Discussion and reflection questions[3]; essential words and definitions [the language of the field]; case studies; examples; vignettes; summaries; self-assessment exercises; quizzes; and animated pictures” were among the features that were deemed beneficial.



 In addition, it was noted that it was critical that the media used for textbook links be inclusive of all types of content, including videoclips [8 responses], youtube [5 responses], blogs [3 responses], scenario-based learning, web resources, forums, podcasts, 360-degree images, and 3D graphic animation. Apparently, the availability of interactive materials “allows teachers to accommodate a broad variety of skills in the class while also engaging pupils in learning.” “Bite-size portions and presentation of information are vitally essential, with brief explanations and applicability to case studies being particularly important,” it was also said.



A significant number of respondents stated that “tutors must learn how to incorporate features into their teaching and program design,” a conclusion supported by Grajek (2013), who reported that teachers struggle to find both time and support to effectively use electronic textbooks and their advanced functionality in their teaching. Students will not react, according to another responder, unless the features are clearly tied to and integrated into assessment activities.



 Design and publish your own electronic textbook.

Teachers are now able to design their own textbooks far more easily than they were in the past, thanks to technological advancements. In order to circumvent more conventional publication networks, open learning networks may assist instructors in creating their own subject content and distributing it online.



 Teachers may also build their own textbooks utilizing a variety of available materials, which is becoming more common among publishers. Participants stated that writing their own textbooks was a possibility, but that “it depends on the subject and discipline” and that “I would certainly consider it in the future” were important considerations. Many others stated that they had done so in the past, but that “it can be disjointed [as the participant was not sure of the quality of different authors on occasion]”; another preferred a textbook “from key researchers in the discipline,” and it was not feasible in one discipline because “I need to search a very broad base.”




On the topic of the usage of textbooks in both online and face-to-face instruction, participants were asked for their opinions. This was affected by the amount of pupils engaging in the topic, as well as by the subject’s inherent characteristics, which influenced how it was taught.


 Generally speaking, textbooks were considered to provide a teaching framework, but “textbooks are just a tool—the practice of using it [pedagogy] is more important,” according to students and teachers participating in a large trial of 5,000 US students in 393 courses using electronic textbooks, which concluded that “textbooks are just a tool—the practice of using it [pedagogy] is more important” (Grajek, 2013).



It was noted by three participants that there is no difference in the way they teach online and in-person courses. Comments such as “there is a need for greater structure and direction in online courses, and the textbook is very useful for this,” and “on-line students read and engage more from my experience, and they do not depend on my lecture notes” were among the most interesting.



One participant said that face-to-face courses were preferable because “I am preparing my pupils for a people-oriented profession, and they must be able to connect to others.” Because “I don’t know whether they are participating in the process,” students are compelled to interact and participate in conversations throughout these courses.

According to one participant, one aspect of pedagogy that has to be addressed is the need for students to be involved in the curation of knowledge. When determining the impact and trustworthiness of information accessible online, it has been recommended that students should be digitally literate and be able to critically analyze the material they encounter.



In the digital era, textbooks are no longer necessary.

At the conclusion of the session, attendees were asked to share their thoughts on textbooks in the digital era. There is a need for textbooks, according to the majority of respondents in this survey, since they offer subject information that is a “beginning point to launch into study,” and because “there is a lot of garbage out there [on the internet].” It was determined that the textbook authors were “key researchers in a discipline or field of study,” and that the textbooks make “what is read more meaningful; the conceptual thinking is linear”; and that “textbooks make it simpler to scope out what to teach” [by setting boundaries, it becomes easier to teach].


 The use of textbooks, according to one participant, would be unnecessary since “there would be additional interactive on-line resources [as a repository for support materials]”.



 The Final Thoughts

Learners may now access and utilize textbooks in a more convenient manner thanks to technological advancements Resources may be accessed quickly and easily via the use of online and digital assets. We must avoid what Ellis and Goodyear (2010) refer to as the “bolt-on effect” when it comes to the digitization of resources. What is essential is to focus on the growth of students’ knowledge via the use of learning technologies, rather than just utilizing digitisation as a method of delivering material in text form by bolting it on to an existing course design as is currently done.



A lot of limitations exist with the present research. In the first instance, data were collected from a limited number of volunteers in particular fields who shared their own views and experiences with the researchers. First and foremost, since they were recruited as part of a convenience sample, they may have been different from other professors from other disciplines at this and other higher education institutions. There is a need for further investigation.



However, although there is no effort to generalize conclusions from this short research, the outcomes of this little study indicated that participants felt textbooks had an authoritative voice and offer guidance for students’ learning. However, even though all of those interviewed worked in the education and nursing professions, it seems that the topic matter taught within each discipline varies, with educational psychology being taught differently than general education and then again differently from pedagogical practice. 



Additionally, further research is needed to examine textbook use at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as the impact of textbook use when large numbers of students are enrolled in courses. This is because electronic textbooks have the potential to transform the delivery of learning resources and personalise the experience of students. In contrast to these changes, instructors are required to engage students by creating creative pedagogies that make use of textbooks and other available materials.



After everything is said and done, Sharples et al. (2012) argue that online learning represents “a new and disruptive type of education that crosses barriers between formal and informal settings, institutional and self-directed learning, conventional education providers, and commercial organizations.” Chesser (2012) proposes that, in the long run, the form of an electronic textbook in this disruptive paradigm will be a “self-generating, self-sustaining, crowd-sourced, open access wiki book, changing continuously, created by everyone and owned by no one,” as described on page 28. In such an environment, I look forward to doing my job.