Abigail Simon News Editor
With the use of cell phones already prevalent in many classrooms, it is obvious that the evolution of technology will eventually lead to the use of tablets as educational devices. It seems as though within the span of five years, tablets have gone from foreign technology to everyday household items. This quick progression signals that tablet integration into the classroom may happen in the near future.
Kelly Hong Editor in Chief
The first Apple Macintosh computer was introduced in 1984 and was quickly implemented in schools across the country. By 1988, laptops were molded into the standard classroom setting. With ever-changing innovations, it’s no surprise that advancements in technology directly affect schools and students alike. The question is whether or not these inventions benefit the student learning environment.
Our generation has become so acquainted with technology that a switch to the use of tablets in school could increase efficiency and aid students in many ways. Currently, students nearly break their backs lugging binders, notebooks, and textbooks. Tablets would combine all of these items into a weight of less than two pounds, significantly relieving weight off of students’ backs. E-textbooks on average cost less than half the price of textbooks, and save paper. The lower prices of textbooks can eventually save schools a great deal of money. With updates, e-textbooks can be instantly updated with new editions or information.
Tablets offer both students and teachers a variety of learning techniques, including apps, e-textbooks, and online videos. Teachers can create polls to identify struggling students and identify which lessons a majority of students are comfortable with. Students have the flexibility to take their materials anywhere and not be forced to carry a heavy backpack.
Modern teachers continue to turn to Twitter, Facebook, and other online collaboration groups. Even teachers who embrace traditional teaching skills have become adapted to current classroom technology. The implementation of classroom tablets, if done properly, would continue to help teachers relate to students and hold their attention.
Kids of “Generation Z” are constantly engrossed in technology, for both pleasure and work. With Google apps, now users can type directly into their Google Drive documents, email and more. The Ann Arbor Public Schools is advocating for student use of Google Apps, as it connects both peers and teachers and allows for easy access to schoolwork. The numerous benefits and eases for lifestyle provided by the use of tablets outweigh any drawbacks.
Now, a new debate over whether or not high school students should transition from textbooks to tablets has emerged. Students should continue to use traditional textbooks in contrast to tablets because of the distractions tablets provide in addition to their hefty cost and potential health problems.
Handheld technological devices contribute significantly to eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, and dry eyes. People who continuously use mobile devices have a higher risk for neck and shoulder pain, which can lead to more serious musculoskeletal disorders.
While it’s true that tablets are much more convenient than textbooks, the number of distractions they provide can be overwhelming, especially for inattentive high school students. With email, entertainment, social media, and text messaging all at their fingertips, students can easily be sucked into browsing the latest Instagram post or scrolling through their Facebook news feed instead of reading the material required by the teacher.
Tablets are also much more expensive upfront than textbooks. Implementing tablets in high schools would not only require a large sum of money, but it also costs time. E-books would need to be downloaded on each tablet, teachers and administrators would have to be trained on operating the tablets, and a new wifi system would need to be installed. Moreover, these costs would not be one time only. Technology has a fairly short shelf life, and devices would need to be replaced regularly, typically more often than textbooks need to be replaced. They would also require a great deal of information technology staff support for repairs, glitches, etc. And how would schools manage the issue of students losing their devices, or having them stolen? It is one thing to be charged $50 for a textbook at the end of the year, quite another to be charged $600 or more for a lost tablet.
While the implementation of tablets in schools signifies how the country is advancing toward a high-tech future, textbooks still succeed in their duty of imparting knowledge in high school students.