EQ:“Should Tablets Replace Textbooks in American Schools?” (Johna)

“Should Tablets Replace Textbooks in American Schools?”
Many Americans, specifically the internet generation, believe that Tablets should replace textbooks in school. They claim that tablets are supported by most teachers and students, that they are much lighter than print textbooks, and that tablets help to improve the user’s standardized test scores. Tablet advocates claim that tablets can hold hundreds of books, they can help save the environment by lowering the amount of printing, help increase student interactivity and creativity, and digital textbooks are usually cheaper than paper textbooks. Those of us who believe that textbooks should remain in schools say that tablets are very expensive, they tend to distract students, they are easy to break, and they are both expensive and arduous to repair. Textbook supporters say that tablets contribute to health problems such as eyestrain, headaches, and blurred vision, tablets also give dishonest students new reasons for not doing what they are supposed to do. To use tablets effectively in schools, the schools must first install expensive Wi-Fi networks. The major issue faced with using tablets is that they will require updates and newer tablets in order to function productively over time due to the increasingly short period of time for which it takes for new things to be outdated.
Tablets should not replace textbooks because the daily use of technological devices such as tablets students can acquire health problems known as Computer Vision Syndrome. In addition, the production of tablets is more environmentally damaging than the production of paper textbooks. Despite these reasons some believe that tablets still should replace textbooks. Their main reasoning for this is that the use of tablets helps to prepare students for a job world which is becoming increasingly technological.
Manufacturing tablets is environmentally destructive and dangerous to human health. According to the New York Times, the “adverse health impacts from making one e-reader are estimated to be 70 times greater than those from making a single book.” One tablet requires the extraction of 33 pounds of minerals, 79 gallons of water, and 100 kilowatt hours of fossil fuels resulting in 66 pounds of carbon dioxide. Print books produce 100 times fewer greenhouse gases. Two gallons of water are required to make the pulp slurry that is pressed and heat-dried to make paper, and only two kilowatt hours are required to form and dry the sheets of paper.
Handheld technological devices such as tablets and are associated with a range of health problems. Handhelds contribute to Computer Vision Syndrome, which causes eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, and dry eyes, according to the American Optometric Association. People who use mobile devices more often have a higher incidence of musculoskeletal disorders associated with repetitive strain on muscles, including carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pain (“text neck”), shoulder pain, and fibromyalgia.
Tablets help students better prepare for a world immersed in technology. Students that 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% between 2010-20, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.



Filed under Controversial Issue #1

8 responses to “EQ:“Should Tablets Replace Textbooks in American Schools?” (Johna)

  1. Justin Clements

    Very wordy, however, I find your claim and support go along pretty well. Good job!

  2. Christian Encarnacion

    As you have stated, technological approaches to many aspects of our daily lives indeed will benefit us in the future (especially career-wise) and for this reason many today support switching from the typical textbook to the new “textbook on tablet” approach in American classrooms. This, although posing more benefits than disadvantages, doesn’t mean that we should attempt something that could essentially jeopardize our chances of fixing the educational issues that are currently present, and in that sense I agree with you. Nations, such as Finland and other European countries that are not as technologically advanced as we are, typically rank higher in worldwide education, and they don’t even use half of what we consider as “educational tools” in their everyday classrooms. Is this not enough a reason to try and not advance so quickly as to ruin the educational system we currently have? If we are to consider our current system to be faulty and broken, why are we so inclined to install a new system of educational reform that will most likely induce the same effect as all of the other educational tools that we have created? We must advance more in technological capabilities before hoping to even consider using them in a classroom because until they surpass the learning capabilities available in a room that uses no such advances they will not be a convenient and hopeful method of learning.

    • Johna Russell

      We must make sure that we do not become too dependent upon technology. Most of the nations who outrank America in education tend to use tried and tested methods and tools of learning. While the schools in these countries make do with “old school” supplies such as chalkboards, paper, pencils, pens, and textbooks, America spends many billions of dollars on the latest technology even though they have not been proven to work successfully yet.

  3. Kenneth Nevarez

    In a world that is steadily progressing it seems that tablets are the way to go, they are less of a physical load on students and more convenient to use than a bulky text book. Although this change may not come quickly it is safe to assume that tablets are the way that future generations will learn.
    “Tablets can hold hundreds of textbooks on one device, plus 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.”(Emily Price, “How Much Storage Does Your Tablet Need?,” http://www.tecca.com)

    • Johna Russell

      Textbooks have been around for a long time. It is better to use a tried and tested method of learning than hoping that the latest innovation will do better. If we convert from textbooks to tablets we will enter a never ending cycle of wanting to have the latest technology. At the rate at which electronics are becoming outdated, American schools would have to buy the latest innovation every year or even more often.

  4. Matt M.

    One of the biggest expenses that students and schools make are textbooks. This is because the schools want to purchase textbooks that are modern and will last them awhile. Tablets would cost more initially, but PDF versions of textbooks are much cheaper than their hardback counterparts. They also last longer, and are easier to get updates for. Tablets are also new technology that students need to learn to use in order to better integrate into modern society after graduation.

  5. kaleb f.

    kids like to mess around with computers and you gont know what they can be doing. there is alot of hacking going on today. kids need to stay out of the technology thing. people have cell phones but dont know how to use them. thats why !!!!!!

  6. kaleb f.

    plus the school district is like 36 b illion dollars in debt and there still buying unnessesary things

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