Point/Counterpoint: Tablets vs. Textbooks


Ridah Syed

Staff writers Olivia Bragg and Megan Oosthuizen face off to debate the preference over tablets or textbooks.

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Staff writers Olivia Bragg and Megan Oosthuizen face off to debate the preference over tablets or textbooks. Photo by Ridah Syed

[/vc_column_text][heading]The district’s goal for 1:X is to provide iPads to all students grades 1-12 by 2016. Here’s our view on tablets vs. textbooks.[/heading][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Pro Tablets

The weight cripples students, causing them to hunch over and stop occasionally to take a break from the pressure on their shoulders. Stop and go. Stop and go.

Weight is just one of the reasons that the school should make the full switch to using tablets over textbooks. Tools, current information, no paper and eagerness to learn all come with the switch to a textbook-free learning environment. Yet textbooks are still checked out to students every year, even with the simultaneous addition of iPads to the school system.

Weight and the Switch to Online

Many students deal with the excessive weight of textbooks, which can cause unnecessary spinal injuries and discomfort. The use of overweight backpacks is a contributing factor to back pain, according to the American Chiropractic Association, but all of the spinal injuries and discomfort could be avoided by the inevitable switch to technology. The world is switching to everything technology instead of paper: LIFE magazine as well as the school newspaper made the transition to online instead of print. It is the direction in which the world is going.

Highlighting and Note Taking

Tablets offer advantages that students can use to study more efficiently. In AP World History, students complete reading assignments on iPads instead of hard cover textbooks, which is a step in the right direction. Using the iPad, students now have the option to take notes on the e-textbook, as well as highlight and use other study techniques unavailable on paper textbooks.

Updating Information

Textbooks also have outdated information, but tablets can be updated easily. A printed textbook may take years to update, while a tablet textbook can be updated in seconds. These updates are important for students to have accurate, current information to learn what is needed for the future.

Waste of Paper

In an era of environmental consciousness, textbooks are a waste of paper. Technology saves trees, which is a necessary asset to have. In a class of 30 students, 15,000 pieces of paper or more are used – not so with tablets.

Excitement for Learning

Tablets get students more interested and excited to learn. Students generally are more excited to use an iPad than they are to read a giant textbook with small print.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Pro Textbooks

I appreciate tablets as much as the next person, but there is something about reading and taking notes the old school way that doesn’t compare. Textbooks have lasted the test of time while tablets pose numerous problems such as added expense or distraction in the classroom.

Tablets are more expensive

With the implementation of tablets in school, costs go through the roof. Schools first require purchasing the tablet, then security and textbook software, plus the training of teachers and administrators on how to use the technology. With all this, districts could potentially fall into debt, taking away from the primary goal: educating students.

Tablets can be distracting

We love playing Flappy Birds and browsing Twitter, but maybe that love has grown too strong. Countless times I’ve seen students play games or giggle at social media while in class, only to quickly close out of the app when the teacher walks by. While wasting allotted class time, students increase their workload of homework, become quickly confused as they have missed the lesson and then rely on others to help them when their grade drops.

Technical issues in tablets

Print textbooks cannot crash, freeze, get hacked or stolen, unlike a nice expensive tablet. According to the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, stolen and lost internet-enabled devices like tablets have cost Americans over $30 billion dollars in 2012. Imagine how much of a dent that would cause in a district fund. Tablet replacement is costly and if a technician is required, it becomes costly and time-consuming, while textbooks are sturdy and can withstand most damage and are easily replaceable with little cost.

You learn more in a textbook

A study done by UCLA professor of psychiatryGary Small proves that while tablets can be beneficial, textbooks beat them every time. The study gave two groups, one reading online text and another reading print text, a passage to read then quizzed them on it afterward. The results showed the group reading the print text scored significantly higher than those reading online text.

Textbooks are perfected

While tablets can be beneficial, textbooks are the true winners. Tablets pose a variety of potential problems while textbooks have been perfected through centuries of use. We may be moving into a modern society, but textbooks still deserve to get a little love.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]