Friday, January 7, 2011

eBooks in Public Schools?

          To adopt or not to adopt eBooks into regular education curricula? This question seems to be slowly but surely floating around and is becoming more of an idea than anything. However, eBooks are too premature to be fit into anything that's solid with structure. eBooks must first transform themselves before they can transform any other aspect of life. They're too new, and before creators of eBooks and eBook machines, they should be tested and critiqued, as everything else in this world is. Seemingly, folks are getting so caught up in the idea of this new phenomenon, that they haven't truly weighed out all off it's pros and cons.
          All eBooks or eBook machines don't have page numbers. But don't give up on eBooks that fast! eBook machines/applications allow you to resume reading right where you left off at with it's virtual bookmark. Still, without page numbers, how are students able to properly cite specific findings to write a paper correctly? Both pro and con, eBooks allow you to virtually annotate. While virtually taking notes on a piece of literature does leave room for some remembrance, it cannot replace actual highlighting and taking notes or folding pages. Your brain remembers more of what you actually, physically write than what you've read. Once you've actually hand written something for yourself, what you've actually done is personalized that information so that subconsciously, your brain can remember it better. (All letters typed on a screen are the same. When you hand write something, each character has it's own personal, unique effect, causing the human brain to better remember it.) One thing eBooks have over actual books is convenience hands down. There's nothing like needing seven books for a busy day at school and having to only carry your eBook machine in opposition to seven physical books. eBook applications are even offered via cell phone. It would be so much easier to pick up your cell phone and catch up on some reading in opposition to having to carry around an actual book and God forbid loosing it or forgetting it on the bus.
          Before schools consider bringing eBooks aboard to their curricula ship, they need a plan. With respect to high school education (or below), who will be responsible for ensuring that every pupil has an eBook machine? Majority of high school education (or below) is free. Where will they get the funds to finance eBook machines? Will they be able to fit this into their budget? Or, will parents be responsible for ensuring that their children get eBooks. Would it be right for schools or the government to assume that all households can finance an eBook machine? Even if schools assign each student a temporary eBook for the year, will parents be able to handle repair or replacement fees if/when their child mishandles it? With reference to higher education, some of the same questions need answers. How are these colleges, universities, and other educational institutes going to ensure each person has an eBook machine? Will students be responsible for purchasing one themselves? This also leaves room for the responsibility to fall onto parents again. Will these institutes include the cost of eBooks right into tuition? This maybe quite cost efficient given if institutions purchase these devices in bulk, they'll be cheaper. School systems should take all of these things along with all the other pros and cons into consideration before they even consider bringing eBooks aboard. ≈≠

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