Have iPads taken over?

By: Kristen Paquet: Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

As I was surfing through USA Today online the other morning, I came across an article that debated the issue that many knew would come up at some point: Can kids learn as well if they use an iPad vs. a textbook? Surprisingly enough, the reviews, many of which came from students, were mixed.

Here are some of the main pros and cons of using an e-reader such as the iPad or Kindle from the article:

Pros

  • Saves on textbook costs
  • Provides better information faster
  • Lightens the backpack load

Cons

  • e-readers can be a distraction knowing email and Facebook are only a click away
  • The technology is still unfamiliar
  • Easier to read a textbook than a computer screen

This article made me recall a seminar I attended while an intern at a public library during college called Librarians and Change: Are We Dead Yet? This is when many in the “book world” were wondering if the popularity of books available on the internet were going to put local and college libraries and booksellers out of business. The outcome from the seminar: not just yet. It seems that although people love new and fast technology, there is just something about the look and feel of a good book that can be beat. Keep in mind that I went to that seminar in 1994 – but the feeling pretty much remains the same today.

There has been a lot of media buzz around e-readers like the iPad and Kindle, but as far as being able to go the distance of meeting the demands of education – its seems to putter. While some companies have seen success marketing e-readers to the more casual reader, they still have not totally broken into the academic world.

Personally, I like to flip back and forth from pages, underline things, make notes in margins… something I just don’t see happening as freely using an e-reader. But, the mom in me says that the day I will only have to find one e-reader instead of four different school books 10 minutes before school starts for my sometimes absent minded children could be a pretty good thing. I guess even my reviews are mixed.

What do you think? Will there ever be a day when a student only needs to carry an e-reader to class or will we always long to hold an actual book in our hands?