Tablets Should not Replace Textbooks in Schools
In these days, we can easily find many university students buy and use a tablet while they are not carrying textbooks. Tablets are light, convenient and even support a variety of learning software programs such as handwriting note taking apps. Thanks to these benefits, using a tablet is helpful for many university students especially for the students who are studying design, architecture or engineering. But, what do you think of replacing textbooks with Tablets in younger age schools like primary school or middle school? In fact, there are some pre-university schools using tablets as learning tools. In my opinion, Tablets should not replace Textbooks in pre-university schools.
First, using mobile devices like tablets are not good for children’s health and hinder their growth. We usually look down at a mobile device too frequently and spend much time on it. Dr. Fishman said people who use mobile devices more often have a higher chance of musculoskeletal disorders associated with ceaseless strain on muscles, including carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pain(text neck), shoulder pain, back pain and fibromyalgia (2010).
Since children’s bones and muscles are still growing, having a proper posture is important especially for the adolescent children who are going through the physical changes. Blue lights from electronic devices can also have a bad effect on children’s sleep. The growth hormone for children is secreted most actively during the night when they are sleeping. However blue lights can disturb children’s sleep by manipulating sleep/wake cycles so that brains can be tricked. (Missio, 2015) Growth hormones may not be released well for this reason. Thus, using electronic devices such as tablets from too early in life is bad for health and growth.
Second, reading a textbook makes children more focused, better understand and remember what they learned in lessons. Using tablets can lower children’s cognitive ability. Let’s imagine when we use tablets in lessons. To be honest, many people would be multitasking and less concentrating on actual lessons than when they are sitting with textbooks. This simultaneous but not normal brain working lower our task performance and degrade ability of processing information. People also read more slowly when we read through the electronic devices than when they read through the textbooks (Crow, 2012). Furthermore, students who don’t use electronic devices do better on recalling test.
According to a study by Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer, students who type lecture notes instead of writing their notes by hand tended to write more, process less, and perform worse on recall tests. (2014). That is, if we used tablets instead of textbooks in schools, the more we would write down things the less we would process and remember what we learned in lessons.
Lastly, switching to Tablets requires too much costs. The prices of tablets are expensive for students. For example, the price of iPad7 which is the cheapest tablet among the series of iPads starts from $329. Textbooks, on the other hand, cost from $3 to $14 on average. Some people say, children can keep using a tablet even though their school years go up and textbooks are changed. They say it is more economical to use tablets in the long run. However according to a research by Shanhong Liu, the average lifespan of tablets is 6.72 years in USA (2019), which means people replace their tablets 6.72 years after they buy them. As a result, it is more expensive to use tablets in the long as well. In addition, the more tablet users, the more Internet network users. Thus, the cost of installing additional Internet infrastructure is inevitable. We also need to consider that tablets have finally replaced textbooks. Many students would use a lot of electricity to charge their batteries in school, and the cost would also be enormous. For these reasons, the cost of replacing it with this will be great.
However, some people see positive sides of using tablets and emphasize them. We can download files in one tablet being moved from any other tablet. This means teachers and students can get benefit form flexibility and convenience. When I was in middle and high schools, I carried a lot of textbooks. Without textbooks, it is virtually difficult to refer to or take notes on the contents of classes. When I forgot to bring books at particular lessons, I was scolded by teachers. As textbooks are made of papers, they are easier to be damaged and more vulnerable than tablets. For instance, papers get decayed as time passes or someone can easily tear them out just by using their fingers. Rather, even carrying a single tablet can keep us from these and maximize our convenience. They are also saying using a tablet is so intuitive that it makes learning fun and easy. Thanks to its contribution to supporting various learning apps and tools, it can stimulate students’ senses and student experience a variety of things. In addition, students can also have access to thousands of information with tablets. This can lead to self-led research and problem solving (INNOVA design group, 2015).
To sum all the things up, there are many disadvantages of switching to tablets in schools especially considering the health of children, class immersion, and costs. Excessive exposure to children to electronic devices can hamper their growth and development. Learning with tablets also disrupts students’ memory and concentration in class. The cost of maintaining them after they become common as well as the cost of delivering and making tablets common in schools is high. There are also good things students can get when they use tablets in schools just as bad and good things always coexist in every phenomenon.
However, for now, children are fully exposed to electronic devices such as tablets. Why are schools trying to replace textbooks even though the discipline and moderation for tablet use is not yet well established? Schools should not replace textbooks with tablets for now. Instead, it’d better place some tablets as common resources to use them when any class needs them as learning materials and limit the time for students to use tablets.
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