Out With the Old and In With the New

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Many ebook providers, like Amazon’s Kindle, have been expanding their demographics into classrooms all across America. The use of tablets and other electronic reading devices for education has been studied extensively for the past few years, and companies like Apple and Amazon have created various initiatives to introduce the devices into schools.

But the question many are still wondering is: will ebooks replace physical books?

It’s true that using tablets rather than textbooks may be more efficient in certain ways. Students would not have to lug around pounds upon pounds of heavy books in their bags, the school may save money, and the networks for the devices can be monitored and restricted, maintaining a safe learning environment.

Maybe students will even engage in the literature more. Tablets are cool, right?

But what about the detriments of introducing ebooks as a replacement? Schools cannot sell their textbooks back anymore, so they may lose money with a Kindle or Nook. Children may lose something in their education without the tactile advantage of physical pages, and if ever presented with a book later on, they may lack the knowledge necessary for comprehending it. Looking through multiple texts is also next to impossible on these devices; a task much simpler when done with textbooks.

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Many may turn this debate into a competition between the traditional and the progressive thinkers. Do we prefer the weight of a book in our hands and the texture of printed pages, or do we prefer to keep with the Digital Age and organize ourselves with technology?

The truly important factor in making this decision must be the welfare of the students, however. It must be decided which medium will most benefit their education, and which will most harm it. Our values and beliefs are being placed in the forefront when it is the future of students that we must consider.

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This also leads to the point that the reason companies like Amazon and Apple are pushing the integration of their tablets into classrooms is for profit. Schools would have to buy their products in bulk, as well as their applications and ebooks. School is primarily a market to companies like this, and this may alarm many educators and parents. Yet at the same time, textbook companies likely view schools in a similar way.

The truth is, the debate between ebooks and textbooks will likely last for quite a while. Everyone has something different to say about it, and there are still a large amount of studies that must be done to figure out what will most benefit students, teachers, and education as a whole. As of right now, all we can do is keep an open mind and await the final verdict.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Express yourself
    Apr 17, 2013 @ 05:38:59

    I think you bring up a good issue that is defiantly something that should be looked into. I think that eBooks are a great idea for students to start using in schools. Not only would it allow the students to be able to begin to work with technology in different ways, but it will take away the hassle of having to carry around heavy textbooks all day. The only problem I have heard from people who use eBooks and devices of that sort is that they much rather be holding a book and reading from it compared to staring at a screen. I think it is based off of ones personal preference but it is something that should be considered in the new ways of learning.

    Reply

  2. Paula_Rubino
    Apr 17, 2013 @ 07:38:13

    This debate is something that is often spoken about in other classes of mine. Ebooks definitely have its perks but is it enough to wipe out textbooks completely? It’s hard to say. It can make life easier for a student to carry and can start teaching them technology skills in the class. But it is also an adjustment for students to read from a screen, rather than paper. I personally don’t own a Kindle or tablet, so I don’t really know how it would be. I think it can be of great use in classes, but it may depend on one’s opinion of how they prefer to read something.

    Reply

  3. jenpetrosino
    Apr 17, 2013 @ 09:14:20

    Cassie,

    I like how you bring both the pros and cons to the forefront of this debate. I agree with your final statement in your concluding paragraph. I too think that this will continue to be debated about for a while without a final answer. I think it will also take a while before schools replace physical textbooks with e-books that are to be read on tablets and e-readers.

    In considering what the final verdict will ultimately be, I just hope that it is whatever has proven most effective with the learning of students. I also hope that it is not something that is simply black and white. Personal learning styles as we know vary so greatly amongst students. This being said, I hope that students are allowed to benefit from the advances by being able to stick with physical books if necessary or transforming their learning to e-readers or tablets. I just wonder how using both would successfully be implemented within the classroom.

    Reply

  4. kimboch
    Apr 19, 2013 @ 10:47:11

    Like Paula, I too often hear this debate in my other classes. I agree that ebooks are definitely helpful and convenient but i cant imagine a world without real books! I do own a kindle and it’s very lightweight and has everything I need, except page numbers! granted I do have an older version, it is an inconvenience. I agree with Jenn that the outcome of this debate should not be black or white, because personal learning styles differ.

    Reply

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