Electronic readers are replacing overstuffed backpacks and bookshelves full of musty books. They are eco-friendly, relatively inexpensive and currently very much in-demand. The battery lasts for weeks, and although they are the size of a slim paperback, they can host thousands of books.

Classrooms had remained unchanged for generations. Desks were arranged in neat rows facing a chalkboard at the front of the room, students took notes on paper, and read from printed textbooks.  Things started to change with the advent of whiteboards and projection equipment and, individual computers. The trend is continuing, and the next casualty of the technological revolution promises to be the printed textbook.

Steve Ballmer thinks that “there will be no media consumption left in 10 years that is not delivered over an IP network. Everything will get delivered in an electronic form.”

Clearwater high school in Clearwater, Florida has switched over to electronic textbooks for the 2010-2011 school year in an effort to increase student learning opportunities and save money and a few trees in the process.

In his blog, Dangerously Irrelevant, Scott McLeod provocatively commented that any educator who buys wall maps or globes should be fired.  Should this include textbooks? Will the classroom of the future be devoid of paper? Are textbooks an endangered species? Are electronic readers a revolution or a fading fad?

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