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Education Featured Article

December 19, 2012

Students Take to Virtual Textbooks

By Robbie Pleasant, TMCnet Contributor

When I was a student, lugging a backpack filled with heavy textbooks across campus, I used to hope that technology would reach the point where we would only need a single e-book for all of our classes. It seems I graduated just a bit too early to get to enjoy that, as the time is nearly at hand.

In a recent survey from, around two-thirds of the students surveyed, as well as teachers, expressed a desire for technology to be a bigger part of their studies. Netbooks, notebooks, and tablets alike are all being used by students for taking notes, storing books, and more, making the educational experience easier and less backbreaking.

Of course, students tend to take to new technology quickly, so it’s no surprise that they’d want to put it to use. Most college-aged students tend to use up to three devices a day, usually without breaks more than an hour long in-between. I’m not some angry old man complaining about “kids these days with their eye-pods and their Playerstations and their tables,” mind you (I’m just as much a technology addict as any), but this illustrates just how much devices, such as tablets and laptops, have become a part of life for these students.

Image via Shutterstock

The reason is simple: these devices are convenient and easy. They save time on taking notes, finding and using textbooks (many are available for eReaders), studying, and so on. In fact, 75 percent of the students surveyed, who use iPads, reported that they made the learning experience much easier, and more affordable than dishing out hundreds of dollars for used books each quarter. It’s a fast-paced learning tool for a fast-paced world.

Many schools are starting to take advantage of this. Some schools, such as Seton Hill University and the Illinois Institute of Technology, even give iPad devices to their students. Others require electronic textbooks, while there are websites for renting or purchasing e-textbooks to make the process simple.

It’s not at all surprising that students and schools are taking to e-textbooks and devices. After all, they make it easier to purchase, rent and take the books to classes, and provide students with a more convenient learning experience. Sure, there’s some initial investment, but compared to the money I had to spend on textbooks each quarter, it’s an affordable alternative, without having to lug the brick-sized “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare” across campus every other day. Tablets, eReaders, and other such devices make the learning experience all the better.

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