Tablets vs Textbooks

Kyle Currington, Staff Writer

I am a strong proponent of using tablets instead of textbooks. One good option would be using the iPad Mini. Right now, schools are forced to use the same outdated books for years. But with the iPad, schools could get an updated version of the text at a fraction of the cost. Instead of looking at one picture in the textbook, students could browse through several pictures and even 3D pictures that allow you to look at pictures from all angles.

Searching for terms in a textbook isn’t an easy task. With Apple’s interactive apps, you can highlight a term and it automatically becomes a glossary. Interactive chapter reviews and quizzes provide immediate feedback which, I believe, can help you learn better. If you drop an iPad, you could be out a lot of money. If you drop a textbook, nothing happens. But, textbooks wear out faster than iPads and sometimes require rebinding.

Using tablets can also be an advantage to teachers. By using iTunes U, a teacher can have everything they need for the whole course in one device. They can send updates or messages to the class and the class receives a push notification. Teachers can use mirroring to display what they see on their screen on an HDTV so the whole class can see what they’re seeing.

Another problem is getting book publishers to be on board with this idea. The big publishing companies make a lot of money from textbooks. Surprisingly, McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Pearson came out as partners with Apple on the idea. Keep in mind that they don’t sell textbooks to schools every year. Usually, schools use textbooks for several years to keep costs down. It’s not easy or cheap to print books and ship them. Apple makes all of this easier by allowing you to download textbooks for as little as $14.99 a piece.

There are more than 20 million educational apps right now, ranging from science to social studies. The iPad requires little maintenance, except for the occasional update, which is easy to do. How many times is the network down or a student unable to login into a computer? With the iPad, none of those problems would exist. The iPad has auto save, which works behind the scenes. Student can no longer come up with the excuse, “I forgot to save my work!”

With more options than the normal textbook, great features, and exceptional capabilities, I think the iPad would be a great choice for the Central School District. They require low maintenance and offer more than a textbook ever could. More and more schools are pushing towards updating technology. Knowing that more schools are pushing toward it, it must be a good choice.