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Laptops Replace Textbook

  • Date Submitted: 10/18/2013 12:08 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 64.4 
  • Words: 2484
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Should we replace our textbooks with laptop computers?

The initial reaction to this question by many people is, “What a ridiculous question!”  However, there are many key issues to consider, like cost, ease of use (is the computer screen too hard on our eyes for extensive reading?), maintenance and repair (if students carry them from class to class, will they break?), but most importantly, student learning (what is the best way to help students learn?).  In order to come to a conclusion on the subject, all of these issues must be explored. 

|  Cost |
First let’s look at cost.  Publishers can create a CD of their textbooks, and at a greatly reduced price because there is no need for paper, printing and binding.  However the costs can be spread to the purchasers in other ways.  The need for the technology to use the CDs is the largest expense.  However, most districts spend money on technology already, and with the purchase of a laptop for each student, the need for computer labs should eventually become minimal or obsolete as laptops are purchased.  This should be considered when looking at costs of purchasing laptops and text CDs.  Another side effect of giving, renting or requiring student purchase of laptops is that other computer functions like word processing and PowerPoint should be included with the initial purchase, and all students will have similar ability to access programs to complete homework assignments.  Reading a computer screen can be difficult for long expanses of text, so I think that the cost of printing saved by the publishers will be passed on to the owner of the printer to which student computers are connected, though the cost will be considerably less than binding a textbook.  Some students may not be organized in keeping pages in order, or throw away the chapters after they are finished, so if students want to refer to the book in the future, they may find a need to reprint parts of the book. Paper will inevitably be wasted.
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