Electronic and textbook education both have their pros and cons

There are advantages and disadvantages of both electronic and paper-based learning in schools

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Braeden Corliss

Some argue textbooks offer “concrete” learning, while others say the efficiency of iPads is more valuable in schools.

Abby Kearns, Writer

Learning on an iPad can have its benefits. So can learning through opening up and reading a textbook.

Some of the advantages of learning electronically include helping students learn more material in a shorter amount of time, less financial burden on the school, and the feasibility of bringing an iPad back and forth to school instead of a bunch of heavy textbooks.

iPads help students learn more material faster. Learning material faster helps students and teachers experience the same level of education in a shorter amount of time. Knowing and deeply understanding class material within a shorter amount of time is beneficial for both students and teachers.

Textbooks can cost more than online textbooks through electronic devices, especially when students have to have multiple textbooks for different classes. Online textbooks are cheaper than paper textbooks. School fees and such can add up, and some students would most likely opt for a cheaper textbook for school. School districts have to provide for a significant amount of students as well. Getting the same information just in a cheaper form is definitely going to some district’s first pick.

iPads are also much lighter than textbooks. iPads are a convenient and easy way to transport all a student’s resources from one classroom to another. Textbooks are super heavy and multiple of them can add up. Going from class to class with heavy textbooks isn’t the most ideal solution.

Having an iPad also gives students the advantage to access endless resources — websites, learning apps, etc. — to help them learn.

However, iPads do have an expensive initial cost. They last a long time and offer many advantages, but the initial price tag can sometimes be overwhelming.

If damaged or broken, students without iPad insurance have to pay a lot of money.

iPads are also a huge distraction for some students. Considering that an iPad has an App Store and games can be downloaded, students can get whatever app they want on a school device (except for restricted apps such as social media). If there’s a way to misuse an academic device, some students will always do that.

iPads also come with infamous health problems. Using an iPad for too many hours everyday can cause many health problems for young adults including computer vision syndrome (which causes eye strain, headaches, etc.) and sleep problems.

Altogether, the method you personally use for your learning is definitely a personal decision. There is no right or wrong, better or worse. It’s all a personal choice for which resource works best for each individual student.