School textbooks now available online

Elementary school backpacks are about to get a little lighter.

Although the Newport-Mesa Unified School District has posted some of its textbooks on the Internet since 2007, all K-6 social science, math, English, language arts and science textbooks are now available to students online.

"I think the biggest impact is they won't have to lug those textbooks home," said Jenith Mishne, the district's director of educational technology.

Depending on the publisher, the online textbooks range from PDFs of books to interactive experiences with features like practice books, word definitions, videos and audio, Mishne said.

"It's much more engaging than a textbook," she said.

Each student must have his or her own username and password to access the resources. The site only stores minimal information on the students, such as first and last names, said Susan Astarita, assistant superintendent of elementary education, at a recent school board meeting.

Mishne created a one-stop website for teachers to more easily access textbook publishers' websites to set up accounts for their students.

Teachers control the students' access by assigning them passwords, Astarita said.

"It will be a great opportunity for our kids to access the network at home," she said.

The use of the online textbooks didn't cost the district any additional money, Mishne said.

With all textbooks online, forgetting books at school isn't a good excuse for not doing homework.

"Now, it doesn't matter," Mishne said, "because you can read your chapters online."

Twitter: @britneyjbarnes

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