The Learning Curve: Textbooks vs Tablets

Textbooks prove to be necessary in the classroom

The sweet texture of paper between fingers and the accomplishment of completing a chapter is a tradition that should never go out of style.

Many embrace change, especially in the classroom. However, while other aspects of the classroom can be improved through the implementation of new forms of technology, one thing that can never be replaced is textbooks.

There are many reasons why textbooks are still king of the classroom. For starters, research completed by Educause Review show students who use textbooks over tablets to study have greater recall and comprehension and do better on classroom and standardized tests. This is because the brain’s recall senses are more adapted to handwritten notes and highlighting, as well as seeing where things are located on a page. None of these things could be done effectively on a tablet.

Technology is also expensive and leaves low income communities with an unfair disadvantage based on wealth distribution. In addition to having to buy the actual tablets, one study conducted by The Education Business Blog revealed one selected textbook sample cost five times less than Apple’s iPad textbooks. This further demonstrates that it is the smartest option for classrooms to forsake the use of new technology. By doing so, this will not only benefit the students in terms of their learning abilities, but will also save money.

Everyone knows the saying all work and no play. While this is generally true for a classroom setting whose goal is to provide students the highest education available, tablets introduce a large version of the play concept.

According to an article from the Globe and Mail, more than one third of students who use tablets in the classroom are not doing classwork with them. This seems to introduce a sense of irony, as the very thing that is supposed to help advance education turns out to be hurting it, showing that tablets are obvious distractions.

Sticking to tradition is okay, especially when numerous facts reveal that tradition is better than innovation. With textbooks more comprehensible, financially sound, and less of a distraction, it is easy to see why they are very much still king of the classroom. The debate between technology and textbooks is closed, and textbooks have won.

Tablets must be implemented in schools to ensure development

Technology has few limits, and for a school setting, the abilities that technology posses must not be overlooked. Textbooks are becoming more out-dated and old fashioned every year; it is time for these antiquated learning devices to be replaced with new technology, like tablets. Out with the old and in with the new.

As technology becomes more available to the public, more aspects of the classroom can be upgraded. One aspect of a classroom in need of an upgrade is textbooks; these can be easily replaced with tablets. Tablets benefit students in many ways. According to the U.S. Department of Education and studies by the National Training and Simulation Association, tablets help students learn more material faster. Technology-based instruction can reduce the time students take to reach a learning objective by 30-80 percent.

Tablets can hold hundreds of textbooks on one device, along with homework, quizzes, and other files, eliminating the need for physical storage of books and classroom materials. The average tablet contains anywhere from 8 to 64 gigabytes (GB) of storage space. On the Amazon Kindle Fire, for instance, 1,000 books take up one GB of space. A Consumer Reports study found that the weight of a high schooler’s backpack can reach an average of 18 pounds, how much of this weight could be reduced by the elimination of heavy textbooks?

A main goal of many schools is to prepare students for the world outside of a classroom. With tablets, students are able to be better prepare for a world immersed in technology.

Students who learn technology skills early in life will be better prepared to pursue relevant careers later in life. The fastest growing and highest paying jobs in the United States are technology intensive. Employment in “computer and information systems” is expected to grow by 18 percent between 2010-20, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showing the importance of starting young.

In order for both schools and students to improve, some changes need to be accepted. The receptiveness, inspiration and level of learning for students of every age can all be positively affected with the implementation of tablets. Tablets have earned their place in the classroom.