Tablets have taken over computers and laptops at work and textbooks in some schools in US. While we Indians are busy penning down the ill effects of technology on children, more advanced nations are equipping children at schools with tablets in place of textbooks. Can the same be adapted in Indian schools too in order to provide better learning assistance to children? There could be many advantages of replacing textbooks with tablets if we could take care of a few disadvantages that comes along.
Advantages of tablets over textbooks:
1. Scientific studies have shown that school going children are more prone to learning stress and disheartening when they fail to keep up with the class. Multimedia learning has provided an edge for those that have difficulty in remembering what has been taught previously. Its a fun way of learning and keeps children interested in the subject with better illustrations and graphical descriptions. We tend we learn those things easily that keeps the interest level high.
2. Its a competitive world outside school. Students have to be prepared to face the challenges of the corporate world once school is over. Tablets are more in use at work and children have to be ready to adapt to its usage right from the very beginning. More focus is being given to skills along with job oriented knowledge and using tablets for that purpose is an advantage indeed.
3. Using tablets over textbooks is going to be more affordable. If we calculate the amount spent by parents on the purchase of textbooks for a single year of a Senior secondary grade student, it is far more than the price of a tablet. Moreover, tablets can contain far more textbooks that the child can use for reference instead of sticking to just one book for a particular subject. Schools encourage students to refer extra books right from seventh standard. A tablet can solve the problem of buying extra books for middle class parents.
4. Scientific studies have shown that school going students should carry less than 15% of its own weight. If we weight the school bag of a sixth grade student or a tenth grade student, with a day's textbooks in it the weight is far more than what it permissible. It results in back pain problems and fatigue after school. A tablet would reduce the burden of carrying all the thick textbooks that add to the weight of their backpack.
5. If all the schools adapt tablets in place of textbooks, it would be cost efficient as well as environment friendly. Taking notes on tablets would save paper. Presentations, assignments, tests and other projects could be more interactively handled in tablets. Motivation in students are also known to improve when they user technology in place of the traditional way.
6. Most of the students who use tablets are known to read more books than the others. Tablets are handy, can be used to reading at any time and any place. They are not subject to wear and tear as compared to textbooks. The e-books can be updated if new information is to be added to it and can be passed on or shared with others on the go.
Disadvantages of tablets over textbooks:
1. Too much of technology is harmful for children who at their young age are not sensible enough to avoid distractions that come with tablets. Addictive games, social networking sites, and other distractive elements would occupy most of the time when they are supposed to be studying. There are harmful content on the internet and preventive children from them when they have a tablet to use all the time would become impossible.
2. Tablets are not so cheap and children would not be able to take care of it in schools and other public places. There would be cases of lost or stolen tablets making studies suffer in the imbroglio. A lost tablet or a dead one will create problem of lost notes and other important textbooks or assignments. Gadgets require maintenance and repair which would result in loss of studies for children who would get used to studying on tablets instead of textbooks.
3. Health problems like Computer Vision Syndrome, along with strain on eyes, headache, blurred vision, dry and itchy eyes are commonly associated with using technology for extended hours. Other associated problems include musculoskeletal disorders associated with repetitive strain on muscles, including carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pain, shoulder pain, and fibromyalgia. Care has to be taken to shorten usage of technology for kids at young age and not push them more towards gadgets.
4. Not every parent can afford internet connections with high bandwidth which would make education even more costly for middle class families. It would require additional cost of repair and debugging. Additionally schools would also face problem of providing Wi-Fi connections the usage of which might exceed owing to irrelevant downloads. Restraining students to limited usage would become difficult.
5. Handwriting and reading textbooks would lose its significance. With editing and auto-correct tools available on tablets, students will ignore the need to remember spellings and grammar rules. Practice of handwriting will be lost which is not a good thing for school going students.
In future, replacing tablets with textbooks might prove to be helpful with better technologies that would strike out the disadvantages that prevails now but at present Indian schools are not ready for this change. It will take preparations and a huge responsibility to make proper usage of this change along with guidance from parents and teachers to refrain from distractions, time wasting elements and harmful content. However, reducing weight of books on children's school bag is important owing to health issues.
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