Schreiber should drop the heavy textbooks and aim for a paperless approach

Textbooks are tools of education that humans have been using since the start of schools. Crammed with tons of information, they are used to help reinforce ideas presented in classrooms worldwide. Students spend many hours reading textbooks each year, but the use of them may just be counterproductive and not necessary.

Some administrators and teachers believe the process of assigning students with reading in a textbook is beneficial and can contribute to helping the student achieve a thorough understanding of the curriculum. These people often discuss a positive correlation between textbook use and the improvement of grades. Technology has completely altered the way modern societies function in and out of the classroom, and now renders textbooks obsolete.

As opposed to students lugging useless paperweights in their backpacks, an online version is easily accessible from mobile devices and can be printed if needed. As intelligent human beings from various locations around the world attain greater access to vital information via the internet, it is just too expensive to print textbooks for each student in the country or world. An online textbook seems to be a more optimal choice as technology evolves. However, Scholastic News has stated that this may not be practical in all educational settings.

“Unlike higher-ed and private K–12 institutions, where students buy their own laptops, many public-school systems cannot afford a robust computing environment,” said the magazine. This may be accurate, but as we advance into the future, the prices of
computers are projected to decrease. As this happens, we will most likely see a shift towards online databases. This will make it much easier for schools in lower socio-economic areas to afford ample resources to give students the best possible education. Physical textbooks are a hassle and it seems that the majority of students just do not want to use them.

“Textbooks are outdated and a pain to carry home from school because of their enormous weight,” said freshman Brandon Moskowitz.

Textbooks, especially for subjects like science that need to be constantly updated due to new discoveries, can be a waste. Companies are forced to constantly reprint once new information is released for the fear of becoming outdated and going out of business. The enormous texts are quickly becoming antiquated in today’s digital age. Especially when it comes to updating a digital textbook in comparison to a printed one, the time difference and efficiency levels are incomparable; online textbooks simply further benefit today’s students.

The Denver Post reports that the average weight for a single textbook is approximately three and a half pounds. While that may not sound very heavy, consider the number of textbooks a typical middle, high school, or college students hold in their backpacks. That weight adds up quickly and puts a strain on students’ backs. Simply put, it is physically unhealthy for students to carry such heavy textbooks. Next, textbooks are extremely expensive and can make back to school shopping a huge stressor in families.

“University students typically spend up to $1,200 a year total on textbooks,” said journalist Terrance Ross in an article for The Atlantic.

Without academic scholarship and financial aid this can put an extreme burden upon many students. Students’ primary concern  in school should be maintaining good grades, not figuring out how to afford their education. Because of this problem, students are forced to go to schools that cost less, even if it means compromising the quality of the education they receive. When we reflect on these considerations, it becomes apparent that using textbooks may not be ideal. There are positive reasons why textbooks should be used in schools, such as providing review or useful information. However, the detriments are just too significant to ignore. These include unreasonable prices, heavy books, and outdated information.

As a society, it is necessary that we find a viable alternative such as online databases, to provide students access to the most current information at an affordable cost. Doing so will put the next generation in the best position to learn and secure a brighter future.