The GEM Debate:
An iPad Page Turner? For Real? (POLL)
Growing up in the middle of middle class in Sacramento, California, I was a bit of a book nerd. In grade school, I read a book that was eye-opening as well as life-changing. The book, Black Like Me, by John Howard Griffin, told the story of a white man who used high does of anti-vitalligo medication and spent up to 15 hours a day under a sun lamp to make his white skin appear darker. His intention was to go undercover, if you will, and pass as a black man in the 1960′s south.
It was riveting and I remember carrying it with me wherever I went, in the off chance I would have a moment to get a glimpse into the struggles and the story the writer was trying to convey.
That opportunity to have a dog-eared paperback in a backpack or pocket appears to be disappearing, at least for students at one New York high school.
Archbishop Stepinac high school is going high tech and by that I mean paperless. That’s right.. all students will need now is an iPad.
While talking about this with my own family, the division was evident. Cole felt it was a really cool idea; the wave of the future, which is exactly why Stepinac is doing it. Dad (from a different generation) felt the need to have at least some books for the reason I stated above. But even my 17-year-old daughter admits to loving the tactile experience of a real book.
But it’s hard to argue with a lot of technology. I recall one of my great college expenses being books; you couldn’t buy used ones because the content was rendered outdated by updated. That’s not really a problem with books delivered electronically; with the push of a few buttons new content is available in the blink of an eye.
Then there’s the issue of the sheer weight of the matter. It’s not secret that learning can sometimes be a back-breaking proposition with students often times carrying around more than the 10% to 20% of a child’s weight that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a school bag weigh.
So it looks like the move to iPads could be beneficial in the short term but the real savings could be the prevention of health problems down the road.
Hmmm.. but even with all those things, is it a good idea? When I travel (and I do a lot taping Sweet Retreats) and I walk past a book store or see someone engrossed in a best-seller, I do wonder if moving to electronic delivery deprives kids of something.
Your turn now, what say you? Do you think not having hardcover books detracts from the educational experience? What say you?