A growing trend in schools across America is the use of tablets in the classroom instead of physical text books.
A recent survey conducted in Minnesota on the potential of replacing tablets with textbooks. The survey received a lot of mixed reactions from educators. Here is my take on the matter.
Allowing students to use tablets instead of physical text books for all classroom instructions will make textbooks a thing of the past. Such change will transform modern education for ever.
Can you Imagine a time when the American classroom will no longer contain a single textbook? But first, let’s look at the similarities and differences between tablets vs textbooks.
Similarities between Tablets and Textbooks
- Both resources are designed for learning instructions. Students can locate, read pages and chapters and then workout the problems assigned.
- Both resources integrate text, images, and explanation guides
- Both resources are mobile objects. Tablets can be carried with the students as they transition from classroom to classroom.
Difference between Tablets and Textbooks
- Tablets are electronic. Books are made of paper pages and chapters
- Students can highlight textbooks without limitations, fold, pull out pages. But with many tablets, you cannot do such things.
- Students must stare at a computer screen all day instead of the pages of a textbook. Studies show that prolonged gazing into electronic screens may not be healthy, especially for eyes.
Now, what do you think?
Many classrooms use tablets throughout the school day. Most times students really appear to be interesting in the lesson. However, one of my concerns is that if tablets replace textbooks, then what happens when electronic failures occur, and it will happen.
We experience this occurrence ourselves when our computers shut down. Our productivity becomes extremely limited until the hardware is running again. The same occurs in workplaces all over the world when electronic systems fail. Nothing gets done.
My Experience with Electronic Failure
I remember working in the computer lab with a classroom when suddenly the computer system shut down. Since there were no books, pencils or paper, the students set and complained the entire period because they were bored. Many couldn’t handle their idle time and got into trouble via frustration, name calling, and disagreements.
The only thing that could have kept some measure of productivity going is the availability of textbooks or some type of notebooks. Many writers and thinkers have warned of our growing dependency on the technology of convenience. One of my favorite authors, EM. Foster, coined the warning-phrase in his bestselling book,” When the Machine Stops.”
Keep textbooks in the classroom. When electronics shut down, then the traditional method of learning should always be an option.