Eliminating printed textbooks would undoubtedly save vast numbers of trees and other resources. E-readers would make it possible for students to have easy access to their text and materials in a lightweight format. It would undoubtedly save many students from sore backs in addition to saving resources!
I agree that E-readers can help the environment, but there are also down sides to adding more electronic devices. Until electronic recycling improves, it would be hazardous to continue to make these products. We can already proficiently recycle paper and books. I think there are ups and downs to both books and E-readers. It would definitely lighten the load of the average student, but they are a lot more expensive if they get broken or stolen. If your E-reader breaks, or is stolen then you lose all of your content. Some text books are very expensive as well, but if it gets stolen you would only have to re-buy that one book. I think E-readers would be a great idea to have, but as an option. I think books should be kept in school classrooms as well.
In addition to the points raised by Jacoba, I would say that e-readers would have much less longevity than textbooks. Like any piece of electronics, they would wear down and even become obsolete in a number of years, especially when in the hands of school children who can be rough-and-tumble with belongings. Textbooks on the other hand can last much longer than just a couple of years. Although this may be an issue with science books that need to be updated as studies reveal new information, other subjects such as English, history, and mathematics can all stay the same for quite a while without needing updates. I would argue, as Jacoba did, for the use of e-readers as an option, not a requirement.
I think that’s a great idea, and one that is likely to be implemented eventually. Textbooks have a longstanding tradition – but so did card-catalogues until the computer was en vogue. I think e-readers will only increase in popularity and usefulness.
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