Last updated on: 5/14/2013 | Author:

Julius Genachowski, JD Biography

Former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission
Pro to the question "Should Tablets Replace Textbooks in K-12 Schools?"

“Now, it’s time for the next stage – or chapter if you will – in education technology: digital textbooks. Digital textbooks are one of the cornerstones of digital learning. When we talk about transitioning to digital textbooks, we’re not just talking about giving students e-readers so they no longer have to carry around backpacks filled with 50 pounds of often out-of-date textbooks. We’re talking about students having interactive learning devices that can offer lessons personalized to their learning style and level, and enable real-time feedback to parents, teachers, or tutors. Imagine a student who has trouble doing his geometry homework; the digital textbook automatically inserts a supplemental lesson…

We’ve seen digital textbooks adopted in pockets around the country, but adoption is not widespread and too skewed to wealthier areas. Meanwhile, too many students still have textbooks that are 7 to 10 years old. And some students are using history books that don’t even cover 9/11. It’s not just the content of textbooks that needs updating it’s the concept. We often talk about how technology has changed everything, but static, hardcover textbooks are what I used in school, what my parents used, what their parents used and so on. We spend $7 billion a year on textbooks in this country, but digital textbooks – this massive innovation – remain the exception, not the rule. We can do better. And I envision a society spending less on textbooks, but getting more out of them. We all win if the players in the digital learning ecosystem – including publishers, device manufacturers, platform providers, internet service providers, schools – work together to accelerate the adoption of digital textbooks.”

“Digital Learning Day Town Hall,”, Feb. 1, 2012

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Senior Fellow, Aspen Institute, May 2013-present
  • Chairman, Federal Communications Commission, 2009-May 2013
  • Managing Director and Co-Founder, Rock Creek Ventures, 2005-2009
  • Chief of Business Operations, General Counsel, and a Member of the Office of the Chairman, IAC/InterActiveCorp, 1997-2005
  • Chief Counsel, Federal Communications Commission, 1996-1997
  • Senior Legal Adviser, Federal Communications Commission, 1994-1996
  • US Supreme Court Law Clerk, Justice David Souter and Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., 1992-1994
  • DC Circuit Court of Appeals Law Clerk, Chief Judge Abner Mikva, 1991-1992
  • Legislative Assistant, Senator Charles E. Schumer, 1985-1988
  • Former Special Advisor, General Atlantic
  • Co-Founder, LaunchBox Digital
  • Former Board Member, Expedia,, Ticketmaster, Website Pros, The Motley Fool, Common Sense Media, Environmental Entrepreneurs, Beliefnet, and Marc Ecko Enterprises
  • Founder, New Resource Bank
  • JD, magna cum laude, Harvard Law School, 1991
  • BA, magna cum laude, History, Columbia College of Columbia University, 1985
  • Former Editor of Columbia Spectator’s Broadway Magazine
  • Former writer and researcher for Fred Friendly, former President of CBS News
  • Serves on the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States
  • Named by President Obama to lead the United States delegation to Poland for the commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
  • Born on Aug. 19, 1962 in Brookline, MA
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Should Tablets Replace Textbooks in K-12 Schools?