Going Paperless: Yay or Nay?



   Books, books, books! They are heavy and make carrying a backpack a hassle, which is why many students were happy to see that Pinewood switched to eBooks. However, has the change been a good one?

   Pearsons, Larsons, and Temas are just some of the eTextbooks that Pinewood uses. These books are offered at the beginning of each school year and contain all the material for the entire year.

   One thousand-page book can be fit into a gigabyte of data; this saves students from having to carry textbooks to school.

   In addition, some of the books allow students to use math graphs or have a passage read aloud for them. However, these books also have their disadvantages.

   A common problem occurs when students are unable to open their textbooks, or the software crashes. In fact, the Los Angeles District is still currently involved in a billion dollar lawsuit concerning the eTextbooks that Pearsons provided to their former iPad program.

   Another issue involving the eTextbooks is how long they take to download.

   Even though most books only take a couple minutes to download, some like the Campbell biology books take hours to finish downloading and many images don’t even load.

   “I remember first downloading this book in my junior year and just how insanely long it took for the book to finish downloading and even after that it didn’t work all that well,” senior Rania Rubaie said.

   Many others share a similar opinion and think that the eTextbooks don’t work very well since they are very unreliable compared to a typical textbook that functions even without Wi-Fi or a charger. On the other hand, there are some who believe that changing to the eTextbooks system has been better.

   “I’ve only had a couple of problems with the eTextbooks so far and those have been fixed really quickly. I like this change because I do more on the iPad than I can on a normal textbook,” junior Cole Bramlett said.

   After all, the iPad opens up many more possibilities for education because there are so many applications that help students complete classwork and homework. Clearly these eTextbooks are not perfect, but are they superior to textbooks?

   Maybe, a compromise is necessary and classes should offer eTextbooks so they can get a more interactive learning experience, but at the same time still have a spare textbook they can use if there are problems with the electronic version or students prefer doing a certain section with a physical copy.

   “In the past two years I’ve always had a class with textbook and another with eTextbooks. I like how on the eTextbook I’m able to quickly project a question on the whiteboard in class, but I like using the textbooks to look up answers and reference examples,” math teacher Anna Scicinska said.

   In fact, this is the situation many Pinewood students are in right now.

   Maybe this is the correct way to use the iPads because having eTextbooks makes backpacks lighter, but at the same time with some books still in paper, students are able to find specific pages faster.

   In my opinion, I think that this balance is very good. In my math class, we use textbooks because Larsons no longer carries our version of the textbook, and I like how I am able to reference information quickly.   

   However, I like how my U.S. government class has a eTextbook, which is nice since it allows me to search up specific terms in the textbook. Since government is largely about knowing terms and dates, this feature is very handy.

   Overall, eTextbooks still remain as a relatively new addition, but any type of book is a good book as long as it helps with education.