Ever watch a good psychological thriller where your mind is blown and you can't even fathom how the events that led up to the ending could have happened in retrospect? That scenario pretty much sums up the scary movie that is textbook companies' digital transition in our schools. This year, more than ever it seems that the "Big 3" textbook companies are committing digital murder while letting districts deal with cleaning the blood-splattered data off the walls. You can't blame them. They are publishers not programmers trying to stay relevant. When meeting with one such company this week and discussing their latest horror movie called "The Texas Data Massacre" their response was literally: "well, we never said it would be seamless." As we stare at our empty pocketbooks, devices full of unresponsive downloads, textbook errors and broken apps, it's hard not feel like the victim of a crime. I for one am sick of the "pass-the-data-buck" game these big companies continue to play. While many smaller companies have integrated with third party systems like Clever (which charge nothing to districts), those same "Big 3" will tell you how unnecessary that is or how expensive it is for them with no thoughts toward the victim of their crimes. Come to think of it, this is nothing like a psychological thriller, it's more like paying $85 per student to see a B-movie called "Textbooknado" with horrible special effects (programming) and even worse acting (customer service). It really says something when you can make Ian Ziering look like a genius.
Carl Hooker is the Director of Instructional Technology, Eanes Independent School District