Digital Textbooks should outshine print in classrooms
Having a smarter kid is more important than preserving print
Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 26, 2012 04:10
“Over the next few years, textbooks should be obsolete"
On Oct 2 of this year, Education Secretary Arne Duncan called for the nation to move away as fast as possiblefrom printed textbooks and toward digital ones in our schools. “Over the next few years, textbooks should be obsolete,” he declared.
These two formats aren’t that far apart from each other, and both allow readers do the most important thing: read a book. Americans don’t read enough books as it is, should there really be a tiff over which is better? The text is the most important thing, not the way its read. Personally I enjoy the feel of a book in my hands just as much as I do an eReader, and having textbooks in classrooms be in a digital format will greatly reduce our usage of paper and enhance learning experiences in ways that physical textbooks can’t.
eReaders are much more environmentally friendly than printed books. You don't have to kill forests, or trees, and the hippies chained up to them for each book. Approximately 200,000 tons of paper—4 million trees—are used in just one year alone for textbooks. This equals about 20 percentof the total paper used for the book industry.
This switch allows for a shift into immersive digital learning experiences that can engage students in ways textbooks never could. Plus, note taking is much more intuitivewith notes you type, as they can be found and referenced quickly and easily. They don't have to be permanent or be limited to borders of the book, and can be changed when the student learns something that changes thenote. This ultimately will make smarter studentsbecause of these capabilities.
South Korea has set a goal to make most of its textbooks digital by 2015. As of now they have some grade levels using paper textbooks while they are being phased out alongside the use of digital books.Americans need to keep up with countries like this that educate their kids better than us. We shouldn’t be stuck in the past using candlestick technology instead of light bulbs.