What Happened to Classic Textbooks?

Hey guys! So with classes starting up I thought I’d write a little bit about the transition from classic, big old textbooks to online sites or tablet devices. There has been so much controversy over this concept, so I thought I’d throw in my two cents. 

iPads are wonderful things. They really are. I currently have an iPad Mini and am planning on upgrading to the next one they put out! I’m also completely addicted to my MacBook Pro – I love it so much I put it in my blog name. However, when it comes to studying, I would much rather have a heavy book in front of me than my cute little iPad. Here’s my reasons why: 

Distractions, distractions, distractions. I can’t think of one time I’ve gone on my tablet or laptop without checking one of my many social media connections. It’s just so quick and easy, I just have to tap a little blue bird or type a “t” into the search bar and Twitter is up in front of me. And then I get to scrolling though my timeline, clicking on photos my best friend put up, and suddenly 20 minutes have gone by. And oh wait… what was I supposed to be doing again? Having textbooks only available online is just asking for students to get distracted. With everything flashing at our faces, how couldn’t we? 

What does this word mean? I don’t know, Google it. Google! What an absolutely amazing thing. I don’t know where I’d be without it. It makes life so easy… maybe a little too easy? When we’re in grade school we are taught all of these wonderful reading techniques. Those things you’re supposed to do when you don’t know what a word is, or you don’t understand a sentence, or something like that. Sure, when I’m outlining a textbook I easily could pick up my phone and google the definition, but it still leaves me the option of trying to figure it out myself. On the iPad, you can simply hold down your finger on a word and the option “Define” will come up – giving you the definition in a millisecond. You didn’t even have to open up Safari. How convenient. 

Hey did you read chapter 12? No, I Sparknoted it! If you walk into an english class and ask “How many of you have used Sparknotes instead of actually doing a reading assignment?” I would assume at LEAST 60% of the class would raise their hands. Sparknotes, along with Google, is another wonderful tool – but it is also another tool that is extremely taken advantage of. I’m guilty of it. I was NOT feeling like reading 1984, by George Orwell that night. Sparknotes worked sort of well for that class discussion. But the bottom line is, Sparknotes is not enough. Having our books online just makes sites such as Sparknotes or Cliffnotes more readily available. From articles I’ve been sent home with in my AP Psychology & Economics classes, studies have shown that online reading is making our generation unable to comprehend complex texts. A lot of that blame can be placed on devices such as iPads or Surfaces. 

So if it was up to me, we’d all be stuck with heavy old textbooks. But hey, there’s nothing wrong with using online tools for help. I just believe that to be well educated people, we cannot rely on technology. 


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