The freshman backpack. Everyone’s seen it- on the back of that new kid stumbling down the hallway like a mountain climber, 200 pounds of books inside. But what if those 6 textbooks were condensed into one small tablet? What if education went paperless?
The great debate between tablets and textbooks has been waging since the release of products such as the iPad, Kindle, and Nexus 7. Thanks to innovative technology from Apple, the iBooks interface has made textbooks from publishers like McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and Houghton-Mifflin easily accessible. The device has also created an opportunity for teachers to compile their own materials digitally. Proponents and opponents of this new technology make equally valid claims that constitute one of the hottest arguments in schools across America today.
At Pius XI, students pay a base rate of $500 each year for textbooks, regardless of the amount of books they need. A brand new 4th generation iPad runs for the same price, and comparable tablets sell between $200-400. Each digital text can be uploaded via the iBooks store for as low as $14.99. Printed textbooks become easily dog-eared and filthy beneath the hands of ill-mannered teenagers; but technology is already a major part of the 21st century lifestyle. Why not integrate the iPad into an educational setting? There are many disadvantages, as Dr. Brian Kangas points out.
“I’ve read a little about classroom iPads, and there seems to be 3 main weaknesses: cost, security, and controlling its use,” said Dr. Kangas in an interview. “I would be worried that kids would leave it in class or resource and get it stolen. Also, they would be nearly impossible to monitor - how do I know if they’re looking at the text or going on Facebook?” However, Dr. Kangas also believes iPads have promising prospects when used under the right circumstances. “The potential really exceeds the negatives. The internet is an outstanding resource. I would be a Luddite if I...
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