Column: Switch from textbooks to tablets

The Newtonite

[media-credit id=25 align=”alignright” width=”227″] Senior Ryan Finelli reads “Hamlet” on a kindle in the Library Learning Commons Wednesday, while senior Michael Courtney works on math homework.
by Connor Vasu
Why do students need to lug textbooks back and forth from school when there are more viable options for the school, such tablets and as online versions of textbooks?

This school should save money and students’ backs by purchasing books with tablet versions and by buying tablets for every student.

The weight of textbooks burdens students unnecessarily, making some students’ backpack weight upwards of 40 to 50 pounds. Not only is this weight annoying to carry, it is a medical issue. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, heavy backpacks can lead to posture problems, severe pain and muscle injuries.

To save money,  tablets prevent the school from having to buy new textbooks every few years and from needing to replace broken books.

Furthermore, with tablets, students can highlight, underline and take notes on textbook passages all from the interface of the tablet. Studying is easier with this technology because students do not have to refer to paper notes as well as to their textbook.

In addition, tablets are better for the environment than bulky paper textbooks, and would save dozens of trees.

One tablet per student adds up to a lot of money, about $130,000 in the short term, but the savings in the long run is worth it. Currently, an Advanced Placement Biology textbook cost the school $200, but online tablet versions, which can be constantly updated, instead of having to be replaced every few years, range from $15-85.

Many classic books used by the English department, like Jane Eyre and Oedipus Rex, can be downloaded for free on a tablet. Jane Eyre currently costs the school $3.50 a copy. Therefore, there is an obvious financial benefit to tablets.

This school should switch to electronic interfaces for books and textbooks because of the cost savings, benefits to student’s backs and help to the environment.