Back Talk: Students debate educational benefits between textbooks, tablets

Tablets replace traditional forms of learning with advanced technology

by JONATHAN BROOKSHIRE/Social Media Coordinator

Slide those textbooks into the recycling bin and make way for the new medium of mobile education.

Schools and colleges have created websites and entered the world of social media.

There are even schools and fine art colleges that provide computers and tablets to help learning in the classroom as well as out of class.

However, textbooks are still prevalent and honestly… archaic.

Tablets provide more opportunities that can enhance the learning experience.

For example, when a professor is giving a lecture and asks the students a question, the typical response is students flipping through notes and their books, trying to remember where they thought they saw the answer.

If the students had a tablet, they could search keywords that would pinpoint the location of the answer in a fraction of the time.

Aside from answering questions, tablets could also be more cost effective for the core curriculum.

A great resource for frugal education is a nonprofit organization called OpenStax College. The organization is made possible by Rice University and the support of several philanthropic foundations, according to

This resource is heavily invested in technology. Its task is to provide free textbooks that are aimed to reduce the cost for students.

When getting a textbook, there are four options: print, PDF, web view, and bookshare, which is a free accessible version of the book that is available for download.

Three out of the four choices are technology based. This is how tablets could make a huge surge toward every student’s hands across the globe.

Some textbooks can range from $10 all the way to $400, depending on if it’s purchased used, new, or available for rent.

For that price – or even cheaper in some cases – a student can buy a tablet.


With a tablet comes the added feature of search, slim design, audio, in-text notes, and the largest resource in the world, the Internet.

There may be the argument that a tablet could be even more expensive than a textbook.

But, just like any textbook, a student can purchase a tablet with loan money.

With that purchase, the student also has the added benefit of carrying more than one book for the fraction of the size and weight of a normal textbook.

Even for students with special needs, tablets offer an advantage.

If a student is blind, it could be very difficult for him or her to find a textbook that is in braille. I honestly have no idea where to find a collection of braille books, let alone the specific ones that he or she may need for a class.

With a tablet, a blind student has the ability to talk to the tablet and have the book read aloud. Also, he or she could vocally search for questions with the help of a virtual assistant such as Siri, Google, or Cortana.

According to a study done by the United States Department of Education and the National Training and Simulation Association, technology-based instruction can reduce the time of learning a subject by 30 percent to 80 percent.

With that sort of information, a student can learn more about a subject in a shorter period of time.

Most educational facilities around the world have outdated books and outdated information. With a simple Wi-Fi connection and a tablet, the student can access the updated version within a matter of minutes.

From almost any angle, tablets provide a better learning experience than outdated alternative, textbooks.

Textbooks give students advantage with education

by DARIELLA HERNANDEZ/Editorial Assistant

Technology can be a helpful way of learning. But you can never go wrong with a good, classic textbook to acquire the information needed for a course.

Ever since the computer was invented and put to use for education and leisure, tech companies have been working to come out with the “next big thing.” While new inventions such as smart phones, tablets, and smart watches are handy for everyday use, when it comes to learning, textbooks are the easiest and most accurate way of learning.

When I see students using tablets instead of a textbook in class, it makes me feel as if they are taking the easy way out. Using a tablet in class gives you access to the Internet, which can often be an abused privilege. Although I know not all students use tablets to cheat, it still happens. If classrooms only allowed textbooks, students wouldn’t have any distractions. The book would be there for reference, and the attention would be on the instructor and material.

Tablets aren’t always a bad idea when it comes to the classroom. Tablets and computers should be used to compliment the information learned by the textbook. For projects, homework, and essays, many programs found in tablets can be helpful. Word, Power Point, and Excel are good examples of helpful tools for learning.

We can easily search something on the Internet and get the answer we are looking for, but not all the articles and posts are factual. Most of the time, what we are searching for has been tweaked and messed with so much it cannot be used as a reliable source.

Textbooks are made to provide us with real, factual, accurate information. We don’t have to double check every time we look something up, because that’s what textbooks were made for! We can trust the information given to us from a textbook without second guessing ourselves.

We have all heard the phrase “reading makes you smarter,” which is true. Being introduced to new words and phrases helps our brains process meanings in more than one way. Using a textbook can expand our vocabulary and the way we think more than we expect. I always find myself using and knowing a lot of words that I don’t even remember learning on my own. That’s because having textbooks growing up helped me understand all the different ways words can be interpreted.

A new option for classes has been online books or codes. These books and codes cost the same as textbooks. The only difference is that these online books come with study guides and sometimes extra-credit opportunities. I’ve had the option to buy these online books, but I never took the opportunity. When the code and textbook come together, it is a good deal, because you have the book to study with when you want to work some problems out. I wouldn’t buy the online book just because I would have to worry about making sure my tablet is charged, it has no glitches, and it will connect to the Wi-Fi. As to having a textbook, the only concern is to not forget it.

Along with the online codes and books come ridiculous prices. When you buy the codes, you can only use them once. As for textbooks, you can rent them for a very affordable price and just give it right back.

If your only option for getting a textbook is buying it at full price, you can buy it and sell it to someone who might be taking that class. When you resell a textbook, you can always sell it for the same price, a lower price, or even a higher price.

There are a bunch of websites that offer really cheap, used textbooks. These websites, such as Chegg, have saved college students like myself hundreds of dollars.

Living in such an advanced world can make us take older things such as textbooks for granted. Not many people realize how reliable textbooks are. Some of the world’s smartest people have gained their intelligence with the help of textbooks. While tablets are a new way of “learning,” they are dumbing down this generation.

One response to “Back Talk: Students debate educational benefits between textbooks, tablets”

  1. As a compensatory mechanism, I used and still use, voice recognition software.

    Once I got my tablet, I found it to have really astoundingly on task voice recognition. My personal use of voice recognition technology has been able to lessen the effects of my 15 train stroke, exposure to meningitis and craniotomy; as, instead of staring at a computer screen or piece of paper, blankly, I could just speak my thoughts out, on to my computer screen, before my memory deficit stole them.

    Using the software, consistently, for several semesters, allowed me to reclaim short-term-memory capacity that had been damaged 16 years before I started using it: Dragon NaturallySpeaking!.

Leave a Reply

Powered by

%d bloggers like this: