Use of textbooks now feed into old-school mentality

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Use of textbooks now feed into old-school mentality

(JASMINE LUNAR/EYE OF THE TIGER)

(JASMINE LUNAR/EYE OF THE TIGER)

(JASMINE LUNAR/EYE OF THE TIGER)

(JASMINE LUNAR/EYE OF THE TIGER)

JASMINE LUNAR

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In this cutting-edge 21st century, a majority of information on any subject matter is digitally recorded and conveniently available on most electronic devices. Access to the internet provides thousands of sources of information on a variety of subjects, while writing the equivalent amount in a book would be impractical.

And so, in a time where the work force realistically won’t use textbooks over electronics, having an understanding of how to interact with technology is beneficial to students and using textbooks is obsolete. And yet we continue purchasing them on a routine basis, plowing through funding for books that will be replaced at the same quality they came in-and having hardly been opened.

Many of the textbooks in RHS are at the end of their lifespan as they reach an educational limitation in terms of usefulness. How much actual learning can happen by flipping page after page and copying word for word in contrast to in-class lectures, educational videos, projects, or other interactive activities?

Education is no longer about formulaic learning, but doing something creative and interactive. Unlike the untouched, cold pages of the textbook, technology uses interactive videos, text, and even gives the option to learn by playing games.

In some cases, the most I’ve gotten out of a textbook is entertainment in the clever notes and doodles left on every other page, probably put by someone as bored with the reading as I was.

Instead of continuously feeding into a curriculum of old-school mentality, we should start looking into digital alternatives for textbooks that live up to the available resources of our modern society – a transition into a more purposeful medium for students to study from and use.

Online sources update their content constantly without costing users any extra burdens. In contrast, textbooks need updating on an annual basis to catch up with recent changes to the curriculum and add new information, which is too expensive for not-so-great of an outcome – especially when each new generation of students need their own improved versions and providing for them is uneconomical. Even the most recent textbooks are not fully accommodated to the revised standards.

That’s not, however, to say they are completely worthless.

Many classes actively use their textbook – but it’s situational. I’ve had classes that rely on the textbook to guide entire lesson plans: notes taken from the text essential for understanding class material and scoring well on tests. And yet there are others where they are only opened on substitute teacher days, assigned as mindless busy work.

Undeniably, information found in textbooks is still used in many classes, but if it’s possible to have it online where it can be pulled up on an electronic device and interacted with, why not give the tools needed for this? Chromebooks have become a necessity in many classrooms and an increasingly greater amount of teachers and students alike can agree on the practicality of having cellphones/technology in the classroom when moderated.