Coming Soon: eTextbooks at LRHS

Some students use iPads and eTextbooks in classes. These eTextbooks are lightweight, portable, and updated continuously.
Some students use iPads and eTextbooks in classes. These eTextbooks are lightweight, portable, and updated continuously.

With technology evolving all around us, it is only a matter of time before Leesville High upgrades to eTextbooks.  As stated in my earlier article, the pros outweigh the cons.  However, there are several factors on either side both holding back eTextbooks and embracing them.

To begin, some of the things holding us back are cost, the fact that technology evolves quickly, and textbook availability.  The cost of eTextbooks is astronomically high as schools would have to buy every student an iPad, as well as the books, which would have to be repurchased every year, as they expire after a year.

Technology grows quickly as well, with computers that were the best a few years ago now completely obsolete.  Using an older computer or tablet after using the newest, most innovative one makes the older seem slow and clunky, and utterly useless.

The final factor holding us back is textbook availability.  It takes a while to review and approve of a textbook, and many states have different courses of study that must be kept in mind and followed for every book.  Since eTextbooks are relatively new, there are only a few companies that are approved to make interactive textbooks.  Because of this shortage of companies, paper textbooks are more commonly used.

There are also many factors that support using eTextbooks commonly in schools.  One of these is that teaching with an eTextbook is a unique experience, both for the teacher and the students.  The interactivity of the textbooks is one of their selling points, and students would be better engaged if the presentations and notes were multimedia and “fun.”  Lesson plans would also have to be updated for this new medium, and teachers would have to come up with ways to keep students focused and not playing angry birds or using other applications during the class.

Another factor supporting eTextbooks is that Leesville has already started using them.  Leesville has a collection of over 500 searchable reference titles and also uses databases that search through eBooks as well as other sources.  When laptops and tablets become commonplace at Leesville, the media center has the resources to meet their needs both in and out of the library.

Yet another factor is that teachers at LRHS are innovative and will do just about anything to help their students succeed.  Teachers will probably also use the eBooks Author application to make their own textbooks if they believe it will help their students more.

All in all, technology meeting education is one the biggest issues out there currently.  The New York Times wrote a “Room for Debate” article on eBooks a few years ago to decide if reading off of displays was better than paper.  Articles such as these offer opinions on whether eBooks should replace textbooks in schools and outside.



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