The problem of school textbooks


ART BY SANTIAGO SAUCEDO

By ANGELA XU STAFF WRITER


As of right now, many students are stuck at home and have the luxury of not having to carry multiple textbooks on their hands and backpacks. However, the problem cannot be ignored, as there are many detriments for students that textbooks bring. Simply put, the weight is just too much to bear.


Ever since the early pre-modern times, textbooks have been used constantly in school and have brought students great inconvenience. However, it has been a while since technology was invented and devices that are much lighter than a textbook were mass-produced. So why still enforce students to carry around the heavyweight when they can just be carrying around a tablet or iPad during the twenty-first century?


With the heavyweight of multiple textbooks that need to be carried, students can sometimes forget one or two books at home. Whereas using a tablet would be much more sufficient, there is less weight when carrying a tablet and students practically have an all in one textbook with a tablet. Additionally, iPads and tablets offer students much more resources when in comparison to a textbook.


As a result, schools should start replacing textbooks with tablets for the sake of helping students not only receive more resources for them to use but also to prevent back pain students may sometimes have from carrying too many books in their backpack.

Using tablets or iPads instead of textbooks can also save schools lots of money. According to the ProCon organization, K-12 schools spend about $5.8 billion annually on printed materials like textbooks, while they only spend about $2.5 billion on digital material. If schools were to use digital material instead of printed this would save them a lot of money that could be used on many other things for students such as more extracurricular activities. This gives students more opportunities in school since the school is then able to use more money on more helpful resources for their students.


iPads and tablets have multiple functions that are accessible to students, whereas textbooks can only be one single resource that is available to students during class. Replacing the heavy books with an electronic device could also make the distribution of classwork and homework much easier.


Another issue with using textbooks is the fact that they can easily become outdated and schools wait a long time before buying the newer edition. As a result, students are not able to access the most recent information. But if students use tablets or iPads instead, they could easily access the most recent information on the topic they might be researching. Subjects like computer science and biology have material that is constantly changing and having to attempt to keep up with these adjustments make it difficult for educational institutions because they will need to keep spending money on buying new textbooks. But if schools were to use tablets, they will no longer need to constantly purchase new resources and waste their money.


Additionally, a survey by Deloitte found that about 90% of students use digital material outside of school. With that statement in mind, why not just allow students to use technological devices? Before the pandemic, people would have never thought of using technology exclusively for school, but now students are using technology to attend classes. Distance learning has proved that students and teachers are capable of learning without textbooks since students now have technology at their fingertips at home.


Some say that utilizing technology limits some students because they do not have access to such privileges. In response to that, schools are capable of providing students with a tablet for educational purposes. For example, during the time of the pandemic, many students were unable to afford laptops, but the school was able to provide those students with laptops.


With technology at the tips of students’ fingers, they are able to quickly read through their resources instead of wasting time trying to try and flip through pages. For example, searching up a specific word in a passage can easily be done by just searching through the search bar of the document. Whereas, if students had to use a textbook they would have to look for it themselves which would easily kill more time.


The most important thing is to keep public schools funded in order to make these things happen since money is needed to help students gain the resources they need. Getting rid of printed material is a way to start saving money since paper and ink money can all be saved to buy the resources students need. As stated earlier schools spend about $5.8 billion dollars annually on printed material, whereas digital material uses only half of that amount. As a result, instead of funding money to schools to buy printed material, districts should fund schools to buy digital material instead.


In conclusion, schools should just replace their hefty weighted textbooks with tablets or iPads. That way they would not tire students out from carrying all those textbooks on their backs and save them time while reading through resources.


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© 2020 by Editor-in-Chief Emma Chang. Proudly created by Volume 52.