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Textbooks vs Tablets Essay

With the advancement in technology, life has become much more convenient. These improvements in the living standards are brought about by the use of computers. In the 21st century the world has come across many innovative gadgets like tablets, notebook computers, and kindles etc. which are being used for educational purposes. Many discussions have taken place lately as to judge whether books will be replaced by computers in the near future. The question which arises here is that as both books and computers are beneficial assets to people and include advantages and disadvantages, is it likely that computers will fully replace books? Well, it is generally accepted that textbooks shall soon be replaced by notebook computers and tablets as they make education accessible and cheap thus more widespread.

This paper gives evidence for the given statement and a picture of what the future scenario is going to be like. One of the major factors which is tipping the balance against textbooks is the cost. A wide majority of students are price conscious. Now if an ebook is available at 5$, who in their right mind will spend 80 to 100 $ from their hard earned cash to buy a book, which other then being cheaper offers them numerous other advantages. Convenience is one of the main reason why tablets are preferred over textbooks. 1500 adults in England were questioned about their reading habits by DJS Research for ‘Book trust’ and 73% of the students who own tablets prefer digital format over print for reading textbooks. (Booktrust Reading Habits Survey 2013).

They provide easy portability as their thin structure and light weight makes them easier to carry around and use in schools and universities. One Kindle can store over 10,000 books, so tablets overcome the problems of books taking up a lot of space. Student’s school bags are often very heavy and may cause long-term health problems and backaches. There is a lot of other material in the bags apart from books which can be replaced by a tablet like scales, highlighters, dictionary, calculator, pencils etc. Students often carry backpack loads of twenty-two percent of their body weight when it is only recommended to carry fifteen at most. Occupational and environmental health expert Kevin Slates says that,“A load of books or materials distributed improperly or unevenly, day after day, is indeed going to cause stress to a growing spinal column and back.” (Elizabeth,F. 2012) Another advantage is easy access to books.

Millions of E-books can be stored on online archives, databases, storage devices and take just seconds to access. Students may search references through millions of books with just a click which would otherwise take years. Online digital libraries have mushroomed in recent years. Universities subscribe membership and provide free access to students. Procuring latest books by famous authors used to be a big hassle. One would drive to a bookstore, make the advance payment and then wait for a couple of days and later again drive to the bookstore to pick the copy. Now without moving from the couch, a person can instantly download the book as soon as it is released. Tablets offer features that physical books can’t have. Students are evaluated to be more interested with the subject as tablets include video and audio. 86% tablet owners of a college believe that tablets help students study more efficiently. (Booktrust Reading Habits Survey 2013).

Student don’t need to scramble through the pages of the dictionary to search for the meaning of difficult words/terms. With just one tap of a finger a student can not only see a great leader’s picture and read his speech but can also view it. The tablets feature many applications which help students to focus on their course of study e.g. the blackboard allows students to stay up to date with the announcements, tasks, discussions, roasters, grades, journals and blogs and gives students and teachers access to all educational material. Tablets help save time and help memorizing coursework. One could just record the professor’s lecture as a video or audio and save it for later use which saves the havoc of making notes. There also exist software that help you record lectures e.g. ‘Tegrity’ along with allowing students to access recorded lectures also helps with providing them an educational surrounding where they have easy access to material that might help their course of study. (Thakkar,P. 2012)

The information on tablets can be easily shared with the help of email or copying the data to another computer as borrowing and lending of books is troublesome. On the other hand the book lovers argue that paper books feel good in ones hands – even the best designed eReader is a cold, lifeless steely contraption by comparison. Paper books are also seen as “more personal”. I am myself a book lover and it all sounds good when the book lovers talk of the feel and smell of the books but if they look at the resultant environmental disaster, people just might start campaigning against books.

Just to give an idea of the scale of environmental disaster, take the example of the novel Lord of Rings with 150 million copies sold, 25 million 10 inch diameter trees were cut off to print the novel. Most of the arguments against e-books rather point towards the physical structure like the feel of a book or the crinkle of the pages etc which do not actually prove a paper book to be worth reading or that its well-written, thoughtful and compelling. If this measure is put into consideration, paper books have no winning advantage over e-books. As said by Cohen,”It may well be the end of a beautiful relationship but it’s the start of another beautiful relationship, and one that may encourage others to read even more than ever before.”

Reference List
1. McManus,R.(2010) 5 Ways That Paper Books Are Better Than eBooks.Available at: http://readwrite.com/2010/08/10/5_ways_that_paper_books_are_better_than_ebooks#awesm=~oCRTw0C8xLCKyg (Assessed: Aug 10, 2010) 2. How Many Books in a Tree?(2007) Available at: http://bhplnjbookgroup.blogspot.ae/2007/12/how-many-books-in-tree.html (Assessed: December 6, 2007) 3. Simpson,P.(2011) Arguments against e-books are nothing but nostalgia. Available at: http://blogs.ottawacitizen.com/2011/08/16/arguments-against-e-books-are-nothing-but-nostalgia/ (Assessed: August 16, 2011) 4. Gleed,A.(2013) Booktrust Reading Habits Survey 2013.pp28. 5. Will books ever be replaced? http://debatewise.org/debates/683-will-books-ever-be-replaced/ 6. Elizabeth,F.(2012) Should Student’s Textbooks and Notebooks Be Replaced With Laptops? December 17, 2012. Blog Available at: http://dublin.patch.com/groups/elizabeth-fs-blog/p/bp–should-students- textbooks-and-notebooks-be-replac31d95e3d77 7. Thakkar,P.(2012) Tablets Replace Textbooks In Classrooms. 1 Jun 2012. Bog Available at: http://www.technology-digital.com/gadgets/-tablets-replace-textbooks-in-classroom 8. Only Tegrity has Native iOS and Android Apps. Available at: http://www.tegrity.com/product/mobile (Assessed 2014) 9. What Can You Do With Blackboard Mobile Learn? Available at:

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