The Instigator
TheInterlang
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Chuwilliams
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points

Schools should switch to using e-books

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Chuwilliams
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/9/2013 Category: Education
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,001 times Debate No: 36520
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (2)

 

TheInterlang

Pro

Middle and high schools should switch from using "dead-tree textbooks" to using e-book readers or iPad-style devices. An E-Book reader is lighter, more versatile, more environmentally-friendly, and better than huge textbooks that cost the schools 70-140 dollars each. It's also updateable. You never know when they need to rewrite the history books!
Chuwilliams

Con

Hello, I accept your challenge.

While switching to eBooks sounds like an okay idea based on what you have presented, there are just as many reasons why we shouldn't switch over.

First off, eBooks not only require the actual eBook Pad, but also, additional payments for every book you buy, which is equal to the current market price anyway. So, schools would actually pay more money.

Another reason why it wouldn't work is because it would be more confusing for the kids. When the kids in a certain classroom need a new book downloaded, they would most likely have to give their eBooks to their teachers who would download it overnight. However, they may need another book for homework that night that is on their eBook. It would be somewhat chaotic.

Another reason why it wouldn't work is if a kid broke it, it would cost more money. Let's set up two scenarios; One is where a kid has 4 textbooks worth $100 each, and the second scenario, is where a kid has an eBook worth $150 plus the 4 textbooks on it worth $100 each, a total value of $550. If the kid from scenario 1 breaks one of his textbooks, that's only a $100 fine. However, if the kid from scenario 2 breaks his 1 eBook, that's $150 to replace the eBook, plus the $400 to re-download all of the textbooks that were downloaded on the other one, a total fine of $550. That's a difference of $450, and considering today's economy, that is a lot of money.

So, those are some basic points on why it would be a complex transition to the eBook that shouldn't really be attempted.
Debate Round No. 1
TheInterlang

Pro

Actually eBooks cost less than the dead-tree edition, and schools may be able to buy a license that allows educational books (i.e. textbooks) to be copied to every device that needs it. The textbooks may be written by a nonprofit organization of teachers (basically a Wikipedia-like project, except it can only be edited by professors). Plus, Shakespeare, Alice & Wonderland, etc., are public domain, so they will cost the school nothing!

It would actually be less confusing. It can take about 30 seconds of class time to search through sticky pages until you are on the right page (those seconds can add up), but with eBooks, you just type in the page number. Also, material can be downloaded easily if it is needed, perhaps by a charging dock on each desk. You no longer have to worry about forgetting a book if you have them all. Since everyone will have them, no one will intend to steal someone else's eBook reader

Dead-tree books can be destroyed in all the same ways as eBook readers. For example, being dropped, broken/torn, cut, or submersed in water, Plus, most devices will work again if left off overnight and placed in a dry area, whereas with a physical book, once the ink smears, that's it. Also, you can't graffiti on an eBook without graffitiing on the device itself, so that may discourage students from graffitiing.

Why should it cost extra to redownload books?
Chuwilliams

Con

Honestly, I'm not quite sure what you're trying to say here. Are you saying that every student would have their own personal eBook, or are you saying that eBooks would serve as textbooks (ex. a Science class needs 30 textbooks, so instead, they have 30 eBooks with the textbook downloaded on it)?

Either way, it makes no sense to switch over. If eBooks replaced textbooks on a one to one basis, in each individual classroom, it would still cost more than a textbook. The average eBook costs about $200. That's more than a textbook, that costs around $70 to $140, which is a figure you gave. Plus, to download the textbook on the eBook would cost even more money.

I already talked about why personal eBooks for every student wouldn't be rational. Here are some reasons from my Round 1 post.

"Another reason why it wouldn't work is because it would be more confusing for the kids. When the kids in a certain classroom need a new book downloaded, they would most likely have to give their eBooks to their teachers who would download it overnight. However, they may need another book for homework that night that is on their eBook. It would be somewhat chaotic."

"Another reason why it wouldn't work is if a kid broke it, it would cost more money. Let's set up two scenarios; One is where a kid has 4 textbooks worth $100 each, and the second scenario, is where a kid has an eBook worth $150 plus the 4 textbooks on it worth $100 each, a total value of $550. If the kid from scenario 1 breaks one of his textbooks, that's only a $100 fine. However, if the kid from scenario 2 breaks his 1 eBook, that's $150 to replace the eBook, plus the $400 to re-download all of the textbooks that were downloaded on the other one, a total fine of $550. That's a difference of $450, and considering today's economy, that is a lot of money."

You said that schools can buy a license so the books can be copied onto each eBook when necessary. Well, how much money would that cost? That's just another extra charge that you wouldn't need to pay with regular books. Same thing goes with the charging docks. You don't need charging docks on each desk with textbooks.

Your argument about no longer losing textbooks is invalid. A student could still lose an eBook. The difference? More books would actually be lost if an eBook was lost than just 1 textbook. If 1 textbook is lost, that only affects one class. However, if an eBook is lost, you lose all of your books for all of your classes.

You argument about nobody wanting to steal books anymore is also invalid. A student could steal an eBook just the same as a student can steal a paper book.

Same thing goes with putting graffiti on the product. A student can and might graffiti an eBook the same as a regular book.

Here is something you stated in your last argument. "Dead-tree books can be destroyed in all the same ways as eBook readers."

I didn't say that eBooks are easier to destroy than regular books. But it would cost more to replace an eBook than it would a regular textbook. Your figure for how much a textbook costs was $70 to $140. An eBook averages at about $200. Plus, to replace all the books on the eBook would cost possibly a few hundred dollars more. In today's economy, some families only make a few hundred dollars a week, so that's not a small amount of money at all to replace school material.

In conclusion, it's more money for the school, more money for the kids. Why waste money?
Debate Round No. 2
TheInterlang

Pro

The school will give an eBook reader to each student, and books are downloaded for each class. More expensive readers cost 200, but a Kindle or similar reader would be in about the same range as a textbook. And remember, there is more than one textbook. If each textbook cost $90, and each student requires 5, that's 90x5 = $450 to supply 5 textbooks that have a lifespan of about 4-7 years. An eBook reader costs 100 dollars, and it should have a lifespan of 4-7 years or so (same as a textbook), and the textbooks should be free or cheaper for the school because the school will have a license. (Let's say the school pays 700 dollars for a license to download the book onto e-book readers without having to pay for every download). That's 100 dollars per student, plus the licenses that apply to the whole school.

The higher consequences of a broken e-book may actually be a "deterrent" that prevents students from losing the eBook reader or scribbling on it, and risks of dropping it can be minimalized by using a rugged casing purchased at the store. A rugged casing can cost about 60 dollars, which is about the same as what most people spend on book covers (each book cover costs $3 x five books a year x 4 years = $60)

Kids graffiti on books since it is hard to look through every page and find every scribble, making it an "easy way to be rebellious". Only an idiot would graffiti on an eBook because it is easier to be caught doing it.

Carrying many heavy books over a long period of time is bad for one's health, and some schools even check the students for posture because of this! They would save money if they didn't have to hire the doctors for the day (where I'm from there aren't any school nurses). Bad posture is not a good thing to have. It can cause worse problems (such as a bad back or even collapsing) later on. The only possible health concern with an eBook is eyestrain, and that is only if the reader uses a backlit screen (most eBooks have a paper-like screen).

Then there is the tree argument. Trees are being cut down and turned into worthless paper faster than they can grow back, and even though we should be in a digital age, we use more copy and notebook paper than ever before. We are often told to reduce use of paper by using recycled TP and cloth napkins, but rags are unsanitary and recycled TP irritates the buttocks. Instead, we should get rid of paper in a place where we would BENEFIT without it, that is, textbooks.

Finally, there is the benefit of being updateable. Many kids are taught wrong, outdated knowledge because it costs so much to print new textbooks (even if it is just a section on how Pluto is no longer a planet). Since 2000, five new elements have been discovered and researchers are finding the truths about history. Many things once thought to be right have been proven wrong. It would cost less to update a textbook or textbook section on an eBook than it would be to kill more trees and print new books. The school pays less, and the kids get more accurate information.

Of course, the transfer from trees to technology will be somewhat gradual, at first allowing kids to rent e-readers and then phase out books completely, and it may cost more at first, but the benefit outweighs the initial cost.
Chuwilliams

Con

"Kids graffiti on books since it is hard to look through every page and find every scribble, making it an "easy way to be rebellious". Only an idiot would graffiti on an eBook because it is easier to be caught doing it."

This is a statement completely driven by opinion. You don't know if a kid would or would not graffiti an eBook because it's easier to see than books. I know people that vandalize bathrooms, desks, tables, etc. in our school, and the vandalism is very "easy" to see with those things. One thing I know for certain is whether I am drawing/writing something offensive or vulgar on a book or an eBook, I can do it with just 30 seconds of time, and so could every other kid that wants to.

"Carrying many heavy books over a long period of time is bad for one's health, and some schools even check the students for posture because of this! They would save money if they didn't have to hire the doctors for the day (where I'm from there aren't any school nurses). Bad posture is not a good thing to have. It can cause worse problems (such as a bad back or even collapsing) later on. The only possible health concern with an eBook is eyestrain, and that is only if the reader uses a backlit screen (most eBooks have a paper-like screen)."

You haven't provided proof that carrying too many books at one time will cause bad posture. Besides, you stated in your argument that eBooks cause eyestrain. So, we're going to a product that "causes" health problems (textbooks) to a product that...causes health problems (eBook). I don't see how that is an improvement, even if carrying a lot of books causes health posture.

Your tree argument doesn't quite add up. Textbook/book paper is just as recyclable as toilet paper and cloth napkins. Paper is paper, it's all recyclable. So, when a school wants to get new textbooks, they buy the new textbooks, and the old ones go to be recycled or donated. Paper isn't necessarily going to waste when it comes to textbooks.

"If each textbook cost $90, and each student requires 5, that's 90x5 = $450 to supply 5 textbooks that have a lifespan of about 4-7 years. An eBook reader costs 100 dollars, and it should have a lifespan of 4-7 years or so (same as a textbook), and the textbooks should be free or cheaper for the school because the school will have a license. (Let's say the school pays 700 dollars for a license to download the book onto e-book readers without having to pay for every download). That's 100 dollars per student, plus the licenses that apply to the whole school.

The higher consequences of a broken e-book may actually be a "deterrent" that prevents students from losing the eBook reader or scribbling on it, and risks of dropping it can be minimalized by using a rugged casing purchased at the store. A rugged casing can cost about 60 dollars, which is about the same as what most people spend on book covers (each book cover costs $3 x five books a year x 4 years = $60)"

Once again, that's $100 for the eBook, $700 for the license, and $60 for the cover. That totals to $860. That's much more than the 5 textbooks that you estimate to be $450. Plus, the cost to download each individual book would send that cost even higher. Here's a link to an eBook download store. These books still cost money to download, unlike what you have stated in your argument.
(http://www.ebooks.com...)

To conclude this debate, eBooks would be more expensive than textbooks and eBooks wouldn't be any better than textbooks. That makes a transition from eBooks to textbooks pointless, a waste of time, and most importantly, a waste of money.
Debate Round No. 3
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2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by mee2kool4u369 4 years ago
mee2kool4u369
TheInterlangChuwilliamsTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Simple. The feeling of a book in your hands is better than a device. My opinion.
Vote Placed by InVinoVeritas 4 years ago
InVinoVeritas
TheInterlangChuwilliamsTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: This debate really came down to sources. Pro failed to provide sources to support his monetary arguments, so Con was able to refute effectively.