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Textbooks Vs Tablets: Comparative Essay

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Should Textbooks be Replaced by Tablets in a Classroom Setting?

The average school spends about $50,000 on paper alone. (Should Textbooks be Replaced by Notebook Computers?) All of that money could be spent on something more beneficial. Students’ textbooks should be replaced by tablets and notebook computers. In today’s society, technology is taking over and upgrading nearly every aspect of living. Meanwhile, schools are using ancient methods to teach the upcoming generations. These children are supposed to be the future! Why is it perfectly fine for everything but schools to make a change for the better?

The idea of teaching different subjects through textbooks has dated back to 1868. “During the Meiji Reform, Japan adopted the idea of teaching by subject and thus structuring textbooks according to different subjects.” (History of Textbooks)The idea of printing began in the 15th century, not too long before the reform. The use of textbooks in America was more for religious purposes, until the revolutionary war. “When the Revolutionary War cut off schoolbooks from England, many schools adopted American lexicographer Noah Webster’s reader for students, American Spelling Book (1783), and later his dictionaries (1806, 1828)” (History of the Textbook)

Tablets, however, were made to ease off some of the stress of flipping through a book, like a mobile personal computer. The first tablet invented was by Bill Gates in 2000. ( “The early Tablet computers, such as the Microsoft Tablet PC, were primarily designed for business fieldwork. Early Tablet PCs were cumbersome to use as they came pre-installed with desktop operating systems which were not designed to be used with touchscreens.” (Origin of the Desktop Computer ) The original tablets were created with the same operating systems as the computers that each respective company used (Origin of the Desktop Computer). This means that from the beginning, tablets were made entirely to be a more mobile alternative to the traditional desktop computer.

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Using textbooks in classrooms should be a thing of the past. Many students are struggling with back problems due to the overwhelming weight of their backpacks, and the main culprit of the crime is the hefty textbooks that are mandatory to carry around. “When putting a heavy weight on your shoulders the wrong way, the weight’s force can pull you backward. To compensate, you may lean forward at the hips or arch your back, causing the spine to compress unnaturally.” ( ) This could lead to horrible posture or even a hunchback. “According to data from the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, over the period from 1994-2000 more than 23,000 youths ages, 6 to 18 were treated in emergency rooms for backpack-related injuries, such as contusions, sprains, and strains to the back and shoulders, and fractures.” (“Should Students’ Textbooks Be Replaced by Notebook Computers?” ) This problem has stemmed since the creation of the backpack in 1967. Depending on the durability of the pack, scholars may have to purchase multiple bags during the course of the year. “I remember during my freshman year of high school I had to buy like five different backpacks because the straps kept coming off. I had like three books in there. One for science, one for math, and one for history. I swear that whole year was crazy. There’s no way there should ever be that much weight on someone’s back at once.” Said Tracy Swain, a current freshman at Wayne State University. Replacing these books with tablets or other smart devices completely negates the stress put on not only the bookbag but also the student wearing it. Textbooks in classrooms are not entirely reliable, either. Textbooks have to go through a lengthy process before they can get published, while online resources are updated nearly every day. Daily updates on current events are much more effective in a learning environment whether it be from the newest scientific discoveries to the most recent political decision.

People that may oppose this claim could say that the replacement of textbooks may cause their own set of problems, such as eyestrain. Within the device, there is a multitude of settings to change not only the level of brightness but also the size of the text appearing on the screen. (“Pros & Cons –” Tablets vs. Textbooks) Another counterargument could be that the average battery life of a tablet is shorter than that of a school day. This could be solved with the addition of multiple charging stations around the classrooms. The opposition could also say it could be difficult for older or less experienced teachers to catch on to the new technology. This could be assisted with tech lessons in their orientation and training. (“Pros & Cons –” Tablets vs. Textbooks) Additionally, the opposing side may state that students may learn better with textbooks, as opposed to online. However, a study was conducted to test any differences between learning through textbooks and learning through the use of e-books. This test used 63 randomized nurses studying respiratory physiology and pulmonology. The results are as follows:

For simple recall, all methods were equally effective. For problem-solving, the eCase group achieved a comparable knowledge level to classroom teaching, while textbook learning was inferior to both (p This clearly reveals that there is no true disadvantage to using tablets instead of textbooks. All of the potential problems of replacing textbooks with tablets are simple fixes. The only true “problem” would be the price of the tablets. Even then, given that on average, a single school spends about $50,000 on just paper per year, (Textbooks vs Tablets) all that money could be redirected towards purchasing tablets for classrooms. “The government could aid in paying for them [the tablets] by using some of the tax dollars we pay. This would cover this problem entirely.” Said Anita Vandover, a councilor at Southfield

High School.

Replacing textbooks with tablets is the correct thing to do. Society is becoming more and more digital as time progresses. Schools need to stop teaching future generations ancient techniques. There is no reason to deny that schools should also make the switch. Students voted nearly unanimously that schools should take a more electronic approach. Textbooks can be detrimental to a student’s health by causing back problems if the weight is too much on the body, which could possibly haunt a student for eternity. The pros of making the switch to a more electronic approach to learning vastly outweigh the cons. This could be anywhere from more ease of access to avoiding the main causes of back problems in young adults.

Works Cited

  1. Worm, Bjarne Skjødt. “Learning from Simple Ebooks, Online Cases or Classroom Teaching When Acquiring Complex Knowledge. A Randomized Controlled Trial in Respiratory Physiology and Pulmonology.” PLoS ONE, vol. 8, no. 9, Sept. 2013, pp. 1–5. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0073336.
  2. “Should Students’ Textbooks Be Replaced by Notebook Computers?” Topics, Sample Papers. & Articles Online for Free, 18 Oct. 2017,
  3. “Should Tablets Replace Textbooks in K-12 Schools?” ProConorg Headlines, 4 Dec. 2018,
  4. Viawritingcom. “Should Student’s Textbooks Be Replaced by Notebook Computers? – Via Writing.” Via Writing, Via Writing, 9 Aug. 2017,
  5. “Should Textbooks Be Replaced By Notebook Computers?” Oxford Learning, 6 Dec. 2016,

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Textbooks Vs Tablets: Comparative Essay. (2023, March 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 25, 2023, from
“Textbooks Vs Tablets: Comparative Essay.” Edubirdie, 01 Mar. 2023,
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