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Gwinnett Schools Taking Action on eCLASS

Board can vote on $9M deal Thursday that begins process of phasing out textbooks.

The Gwinnett County school system is ramping up its eCLASS digital teaching/classroom system, and a related multimillion-dollar purchase is on the school board agenda for Thursday's meeting in Suwanee.

A recommended deal involves a $9.5 million contract with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publishers for a software application called Pinpoint, according to the agenda. This would provide the district with an "integrated enterprise solution to enhance student engagement and the learning process," the agenda said.

This would be for a one-year contract with four annual renewals.

eCLASS is an acronym for Content, Learning and Assessment Support System. It will begin a pilot program in the fall of 2012 in five Gwinnett clusters, according to the GCPS website.

Eventually it will mean the end of textbook-based learning. It's "pretty much the goal" to phase out textbooks in the GCPS, board members were told in July.

"Learning will be more real and more relevant to our students who have never known a world without technology," according to an eCLASS FAQ on the website. "That world is changing rapidly and print textbooks simply can’t keep up."

For teachers, it will mean access to various sites through a single portal. For students, it will mean video clips, interactive quizzes and gaming activities as part of instruction.

"The current textbook model is not working," Rick Cost, chief financial officer of GCPS, told board members in July.

For more information on eCLASS and Thursday's board meeting, visit the GCPS website.

Bob Williams September 16, 2011 at 02:09 AM
Great topic Steve. I'm glad to see some movement in this area. I had similar thoughts in August of 2010 and recorded them in a blog post at http://merchantstand.com/2010/08/rethink-text-book-distribution/. The industry really will evolve to an electronic distribution model. For the sake of the lower backs of all those students, hopefully it's sooner than later.

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