(By Marie Miguel) There is a huge debate going on in schools all across the country. It is not about violence, bullying, drugs, or similar issues. The debate is whether schools should continue using text books or switch to using computer tablets. There are many good arguments on both sides, but the fact is, schools are doing it anyway, regardless of what the parents want. Of course, you have the choice whether to sign the paper saying it is alright for your child to use a tablet and be on the internet. However, if you do not sign that paper, your child will not get the same education as the rest of the class. The world has gone digital and there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it.
The Pros and Cons of Tablets in School
Here are some of the pros and cons of tablets in the classroom:
- According to the United States Department of Education, students learn 30-80% faster with tablets.
- A tablet can hold hundreds of books on one device as well as homework, files, and communication with the teachers. This means no more heavy backpacks or lost books.
- E-books are up to 60% cheaper than printed books.
- Children scored 30% higher on tests using a tablet rather than a textbook.
- Tablets have interactive features that textbooks do not have such as a search function, highlighters, and a built-in dictionary and thesaurus.
- Learning technology skills are important for their future.
- Tablets can be automatically updated.
- Students and schools save money on paper, pencils, and other items that tablets do not need.
- Files on the tablet can be transferred to other electronic devices and portable data recorders. That means no more lost homework.
- Students enjoy learning on tablets more than with textbooks so they learn more.
- There are medical consequences with using tablets such as neck pain, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches, and eye strain.
- Textbooks are five times cheaper than tablets, including training teachers and buying software.
- Tablets have a lot of distractions such as games, email, apps, and other websites the children can get onto instead of doing their work or listening to the teacher.
- The brain is able to comprehend more when reading printed text rather than digital text. In fact, on average, people read digital text up to 30% slower than printed text.
- Many students do not have (or cannot afford) sufficient internet service to use their tablets at home. That means homework is not going to get done.
- Repairing a tablet costs a great deal more than fixing a book.
- Textbooks do not get malware, spyware, freeze, crash, and cannot get hacked.
- Tablets need to be charged and cannot last a whole school day.
- Students are able to cheat or use shortcuts to do their schoolwork.
- Some textbooks are still not available in digital format.
Time for a Solution
Many parents just do not want their children to use the internet. Some have never had the opportunity to experience the technological advances that are available to their children or they just do not understand. These feelings of inadequacy can make parents angry and ill-equipped to make a good decision for their children. Other parents are computer savvy but do not think their child is ready for the internet. It is important for these parents to have someone to talk to that understands these issues and can help them realize the benefits of letting their children learn computer skills. There are licensed professionals that parents and their children can talk to or chat with online or over the phone. Together they may be able to come to some kind of compromise that works out well for everyone.