Free Online Textbooks Available in California Classrooms

The first 10 digital textbooks that meet California academic standards for high school math and science were named on Tuesday by State education officials.

The electronic textbooks, available for use as soon as this fall, were among the first reviewed as part of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Free Digital Textbook Initiative.

The "open source" material was reviewed by a state education panel to help school districts identify online learning resources. Electronic textbooks for other subjects will be reviewed in coming months, San Jose Mercury News reports.

The program "gives school districts high-quality, cost-effective options to consider when choosing textbooks for the classroom - not only during these difficult economic times but in the years to come," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

State Education Secretary Glen Thomas said the move marks the first step toward revolutionizing education in the state.

"This is a groundbreaking initiative," he told more than 100 representatives of schools, technology companies and others gathered at the Orange County Department of Education. "We think that technology is one of the ways to reform and improve education."

Others said that none of the online texts met all state content standards and that the governor's office had failed to consider the real costs -- in infrastructure and training -- that will accompany their use, The Los Angeles Times reports.

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