eBooks or Print Books? The Surprising Choice One School Made in Regards to Technology

By: Whitney Ballard

All over the country, schools are ditching textbooks in favor of ebooks. There are many reasons for this shift taking place: ebooks are more environmentally friendly and make information more easily accessible. There’s no denying that technology is becoming more prevalent in our future with each passing day; ebooks are yet another avenue to teach our children proper technology usage. Textbooks are becoming “old school” and ebooks are on the rise. However, some schools have not been as impressed with this educational shift to replace print books with technology.

One school in particular, Reddam House in Sydney, Australia, ditched iPads altogether after exposing students to both print books and ebooks, and monitoring an overwhelming favoritism towards the print books. In addition to the favoritism, the students displayed increased comprehension skills after the swap took place. Interestingly, the school is more than satisfied with its decision to dump the technology.

Courtesy of Getty

Courtesy of Getty

In an interview conducted by The Concier, Reddam House principal Dave Pitcairn shared, “The ease of navigation through the textbook was easier with the hard copy. I believe they learn better the more faculties they use, the more senses they use in research and reading and making notes.”

Pitcairn also warned of distractions with the beloved ebooks: “[Students could have messages popping up and all sorts of other alerts.” These messages, according to Pitcairm, were too much temptation for young minds to resist.

Although the traditional route seems to work for Reddam, most schools across the country haven’t slowed their pace in implementing the newest technology into their curriculum. This comes as no surprise as twenty-first century teachers are heavily persuaded, and often forced, to abide by educational technology trends. Across the country, you’ll find lesson plans centered around smartboards, laptops and ebooks; a malfunction or momentary lapse of WiFi can set these plans ablaze for teachers, leaving us feeling almost debilitated from a failure that isn’t ours.

How much dependence on technology is a healthy dependency? Is there such a thing? Is there a balance that exists? These are all questions we are faced with in this period of transition.

The answer? It seems to be—it depends. The technology that works for one school may not work for another. Likewise, the print textbooks that have brought greater comprehension and retention at one school could be detrimental to a student body already striving while using ebooks.

In accordance with the majority of U.S. schools, a Walden University listed the abundant benefits of using ebooks in the classroom, including a more engaged environment, an incorporation of different learning styles, an improvement in collaboration, a preparation strategy for children’s futures, and a greater connection with students.

A teacher may very well connect through technological devices, considering their popularity among adolescent students; the internet is a never-ending source of information, seemingly always within reach. Who would turn down this wealth of abundant knowledge? Well, apparently, the staff and students at Reddam House. Unapologetically, even. They don’t regret stripping away their ebooks in favor of traditional print books. Would you?