OPINION: Digital Technology Shouldn’t Replace School Textbooks

By: Gretchen Hosking
Follow me on Twitter: @Gsking_OwlFeed

Since the invention of the Internet, a lot of things have become more digital. Schools especially have begun putting more of their things online like newspapers, class presentations and even homework. However, this switch from having paperwork to digital work could take a turn for the worst.

25b4faf7-d0da-4b65-9a2a-cc70dde7b74dWith e-books becoming more popular, it has made it easier for students to get the books they need for classes without having to lug around heavy books every day. While this can be great for some, others may not be able to get online books because they don’t have access to the Internet. Not everyone can afford computers or phones that connect to the Internet.

Another problem that can arise from this is that not all e-books have a physical copy that you can purchase. In other words, those who don’t have access to the Internet easily cannot buy a physical copy of the book for their class. This can be difficult for them to learn when they don’t have the book.

A great thing about having a physical copy of something, whether it be a book or a sheet of notes, is that you can write annotations in the margins. Annotations aren’t something you can do well on a digital copy of something. Even though you can occasionally write notes on digital copies, studies have showed that when you actually write something down on a physical copy of something, you remember it better.

In the article A Learning Secret: Don’t Take Notes with a Laptop by Cindi May, it is stated that “new research by Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer demonstrates that students who write out their notes on paper actually learn more.” (May 2).

Online newspapers can also be a bad idea. For one, not many students know that a school newspaper exists here since it’s all on the Internet. That means that most of the school is not getting the information they may find useful. For example, some students might not have known that the early release we had recently on September 28, 2016, wasn’t a late start as well, causing them to miss the bus.

Even though we have the Internet, we should still try and keep physical copies of books and notes. When a student is able to reference a textbook and/or handwritten notes, they cannot make the excuse, “I couldn’t do my homework because the Internet was down.” Schools are investing in new courses online faster than the technology is accessible in some students’ homes.