Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ellen Graves - Will iPads Replace Traditional Textbooks? (Print Version)

Will iPads Replace Traditional Textbooks?
With the release of the iPad 2 in March, many people are questioning whether the need for traditional textbooks in the classroom is necessary. Several schools have already implemented an iPad policy in the classroom.
More people are realizing the benefits of replacing traditional textbooks with iPads. For many, the convenience the iPad offers is unmatched by textbooks. Instead of carrying around several bulky books, the iPad is a sleek, thin alternative that can hold thousands of books. The battery lasts for 10 hours which is long enough for an entire school day.
College students are often faced with extremely high textbook costs. For only one semester, textbooks can cost up to $500. The iPad costs $500 but this is a one time payment. Generally, some textbooks can be found cheaper for the iPad and the variety of textbooks being offered is growing. In the long run, buying an iPad for textbooks could be cheaper and save the student money. School districts can save money on paper and supplies by opting to use the iPad in the classroom.
Also, the interactive apps available provide another learning tool for students in the classroom. The iPad has 5,400 educational apps available with almost 1,000 that are free. From chemistry apps to foreign language apps, the iPad has any app for the variety of subjects taught in the classroom. Students are even able to take notes and highlight with an iPad. Teachers can monitor students’ progress as well. The iPad allows multiple platforms for the student to learn the subject.
IPads also offer a more eco-friendly version of textbooks. Millions of trees are used each year to provide paper for textbooks across America. The iPad eliminates the need for paper and in the process helps the environment. Ole Miss literature professor Dr. Adetayo Alabi states, “I think iPads are good for the environment. It would be a lot easier for students to get textbooks on the iPad. It would save time and space.”
A new program at Northeast Mississippi Community College will begin in the fall of 2011 that requires freshmen in the radiology and medical lab technology programs to buy iPads at a discounted price for use in the classroom. According to school officials, this program will save the students 20 percent versus buying traditional textbooks.
Apple Inc. is working with textbook publishers on programs and sessions to inform teachers about the iPad’s potential for the classroom. Publishers are beginning to work on apps as well that would enhance the learning process. IPads have even been introduced to kindergarten classrooms in Arizona. Pinnacle Peak School in Ariz. has devoted a whole classroom filled with 36 iPads for student access. Schools across the country are embracing the iPad as a new tool that enhances the educational process.
College sophomore Jennifer Cooper states, “deter some students from purchasing one, a student would actually save money as well as other resources in the long run. Being that an iPad is more compact, a student would be able to replace all of his or her books with a sleek, light weight device.While the initial costs of an iPad may deter some students form purchasing an iPad, a student would actually save money in the long run. Being that an iPad is more compact, a student would be able to replace all of their books with a sleek, lightweight device.”
Some critics argue that the iPad is only a fad that will fade with time. One concern is that technology should not replace traditional teaching in schools. However, teachers are finding ways to integrate the iPad into the daily curriculum in a way that enhances the students’ overall education experience.
The iPad is still in the experimental stages in the classroom, but is receiving positive reviews. With convenience being a major factor in American life, it is reasonable to imagine that textbooks will be gradually replaced with iPads in the coming years.
Over 7.5 million iPads have been sold in the past year. 16.5 million iPads are expected to be sold by 2012.

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