Textbooks could be going the way of slide rules within a few years in Texas classrooms, reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: State legislation passed in the spring could put up-to-the-minute instructional content at students’ fingertips, eliminating the mass-market hardback textbook. The sea change could happen sooner rather than later, beginning as early as the 2010-11 school year. The legislation is one of two bills passed this year that allow the Texas Education Agency to create its own repository of digital textbook content. By switching to online content, schools could save money, customize materials to fit students’ needs, and more easily integrate textbooks with video, software, or other technology, advocates say. This month, the Texas Education Agency is taking the first step by calling for bids for online material from both traditional publishers and online content providers. Officials expect to have the first materials online for students next fall. The state’s move toward online content will affect other states too, because publishers tailor their products to conform to the needs of states with the most students…

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