“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to function productively over time due to the increasingly short period of time for which it takes for new things to be outdated.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.