As the debate continues, opposing sides are pushing for either all classrooms functioning with tablets or sticking to the traditional method with textbooks. This argument has even been debated by political figures. Christine Quinn, New York City Council speaker, said “We currently spend more than a hundred million dollars a year on textbooks. That’s enough money to buy tablets for every student in New York City public schools and cover staff costs to make sure these online texts are meeting rigorous standards.” This point was brought up by a very well proven article by Lauren Moffett that using tablets saves more money than textbooks. She goes into depth that using tablets will replace not only textbooks but pencils and notebooks too. A point has been made that tablets can hold hundreds of textbooks on one device. A tablet also has room for homework, quizzes, and other files which eliminates any need for physical storage of books and classroom materials. But there are extreme downsides to getting rid of everything and only having a simple device. Let’s dig deeper.
Not only is using a tablet in class extremely distracting, but it also may be a factor on why this generation is developing a shorter attention span. According to 87% of teachers (for grades K-12), believe that “today’s digital technologies are creating an easily distracted generation with short attention spans.” Is it really a good idea to contribute to that? By only having tablets, this creates a gateway of distractions. Imagine an entire school day with JUST a tablet. That would be incredibly boring.
Another point – it is very likely that your tablet (or any electronic device) will freeze at some point in the school day as well. By replacing textbooks with tablets, your removing the only option you have when your device crashes. This would be a very bad situation for students at a younger age.
Older students have a different situation to avoid. Theft. Most college students RELY on technology. All of their information is stored on their devices. PDF of textbooks, assignments, PowerPoint notes, the list goes on. Basically all of your eggs are in one basket. And if something happens to that device, you lose everything. It is not a good idea to put so much trust in technology and completely overlook the traditional method of note taking. At any point if you aren’t careful, your device could get stolen. The Associated Press did an article on the huge epidemic of theft with devices. In San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles, robberies related to internet-enabled handheld devices have accounted for 50, 40, and 25 percent of all robberies in 2012 (for a video on more statistics click here for a ABC news segment). In that same year, the stolen and lost devices have cost Americans more than $30 billion. Even if Quinn makes a point about saving money by getting rid of textbooks, it’s clear that tablet is still going to cost you in the long run.
So is it all worth it? I don’t think it’s the worth the risk, money and possible contribution to the youth’s decline in attention span. What are your thoughts? Make the right decision and stick to traditional learning methods!