In this digital age, it is easy to believe that the use of paper in education is significantly decreasing.
Today’s students are growing up as digital natives, with many schools and school districts all over the world seeing the benefits of using mobile devices such as iPads in the classroom. One school in Austin, Texas is distributing more than 2,000 iPads to every student, from pre-schoolers to high school students.
Some people say there are benefits from education going digital for example, textbooks are often out of date as soon as they are printed, many students dislike having to carry around piles of heavy books, and books can be very expensive.
These are valid reasons. However, schools are already struggling with their budgets and although an eBook may be relatively cheap, the cost of buying a thousand iPads could be astronomical.
Another issue is the amount of hard drive space eBooks use. A complete volume of educational texts could take up most of a 16GB iPad, which is not very useful when you want to buy several textbooks.
According to a study, if it cost the same to buy a textbook as it did to buy an eBook, 87 percent of undergraduate and graduate students stated that they would prefer to read paper books for school than eBooks, and 92 percent found it easier to concentrate while reading a paper book. With such high percentages, it appears obvious that paper books are still significantly effective in education.
In some cases the use of a digital curriculum in education can be useful as it is a good medium for interaction; however, teachers must focus on making sure their students can engage with both print and digital texts.
The push to digitise textbooks doesn’t seem to be losing momentum. However it is very obvious to us that paper is critical in education and cannot be replaced by eBooks or other forms of digital education!