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Textbooks vs. E-books: What Does the Future Hold for them?

In a modernized society where countless individuals are ever so dependent on technology, electronic books have been stealing the show in the world of education.  Of course, with the rise of these new developments comes to the question: will these “e-books” ultimately replace physical books for the better? At John A. Ferguson Senior High, most teachers think otherwise. In a poll conducted by our staff, fifteen teachers preferred to use physical books, two preferred online textbooks, and two others think that both are crucial.

The teachers at Ferguson are not the only ones that think this way. Most teachers lean more toward the traditional way of learning because of many reasons.  In fact, in a recent study, it is shown that that 87% percent of K-12 teachers think that online books are nothing but a distraction for the students of their class. It is not only logical but in fact proven, that children and teenagers from the ages of 8-18 multitask when they are doing school work online. When students read from a physical textbook, they retain more information and learn things more efficiently. Lastly, when using a paper-based textbook, there is no risk that the book will shut down or restart for updates. With a physical book, you do not have to worry about limiting the number of notes you write or how much you use it in fear of the battery running out.

As the ways of the world change, these e-books are rising in popularity. This is especially relevant in Miami-Dade County Public Schools, as the district plans to make learning for this new generation more “relevant” and appealing. Part of this mission includes using e-books located on the student portal, and urging teachers to frequently use their “electronic boards”.

Part of the benefits would include cutting back the price of physical textbooks, which can cost the school thousands of dollars to equip just one classroom with. Not only that, but an electronic book can be regularly updated to contain modern information and editions, something that would require schools to purchase new textbooks every year in order to keep up. This is especially imperative for science, technology, and other subjects, as “too many students are using books that are 7-10 years old with outdated material”.

It is important to equally diffuse diverse ways of learning, as many students have different ways of processing information. We cannot forget the classic feeling of taking physical notes, but we must also begin to add the internet’s extensive capabilities into the mix. For the sake of maintaining a healthy balance in education, both textbooks and e-books must be integrated into a healthy learning experience.

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