The Instigator
Con (against)
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The Contender
Pro (for)
1 Points

Textbooks should be replaced by technology.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/6/2015 Category: Education
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 495 times Debate No: 82183
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




School textbooks should not be replaced by technology. Although an Ipad may be great for recreational purposes, I do not believe it should be used in place of a book. A textbook is organized in a format to cover all the material in a specific lesson. It allows the students to follow along easily while being taught the lesson. What if the wifi goes down? What if the server crashes? If an electronic device is being used instead of a textbook during this type of situation, then the class is disrupted.


Thank you for this debate. I would just like to address a few issues.

1) eBooks

Almost every updated scholarly source including publishers of textbooks are coming out with or have come out with e-texts for their material. The teccnological situation in America would make it extremely easy to implement the usage of eBooks across the nation.

They can be downloaded or printed, they read exactly like a textbook (which seems to be my opponent's only concern), and they usually come with other resources like powerpoint slideshows and even tutorial videos for classes that require it.

2) Internet resources

Getting information from paper sources at a library is difficult for most people. Getting research from the Internet is easy. It's actually really easy. This makes it easier to find information in class for required research or out of curiousity when you have free time. If you don't believe me, type any question about something you may have to research here:

3) Wifi failure

It is true that wifi sucks sometimes. However, if schools innovated to using technology extensively for academic purposes, all technology would innovate along with it, partially out of sheer capitalism and partially out of necessity. When a need arises that a business can fix, that business is all over trying to make the best solution possible. This kind of movement could greatly improve internet servers and connection nationwide.

4) Cost benefit analysis.

1 cost and 3 benefits.

Thank you for reading.
Debate Round No. 1


Hi, thank you for your response.

1) Now I will discuss the differences between the ease of use between an e-reader (a common device with electronic versions of books, newspapers, magazines, etc.) and a textbook.

In 2011, Alex Thayer of the University of Washington conducted a study for academic purposes on e-readers. Each pupil was given a Kindle DX loaded with books in the fall. By the time spring came along, almost 40 percent of the students had stopped using the reader. Why? Usability issues.

Although the Kindle allows one to annotate books as you read, three quarters of the students in the study still used paper to take notes.

The students also found it difficult to locate information found in the text while taking tests or completing assignments, reports (etc.) Part of the problem, says Mr. Thayer, is that e-readers don't allow for "cognitive mapping." This is the process of using cues to recall where you saw the information in the first place. With textbooks; images, bold writing, and subtitles can be easy cues when looking back on particular details. However, navigation and search functions are very poor features on most e-readers.

2) Student Health

Tablets contribute to eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, and bad posture which often increases the excuses available for students not doing their homework. However with textbooks, these type of symptoms are rare.

3) Distractions

Although many find features (such as a dictionary or a clock) on an electronic reader very useful, they are also distractions. It's like having your favorite dessert in front of you at the dinner table with guests over. Not only is it tempting but very distracting to just take the food for yourself. With an electronic device in place of your textbook, you may be tempted to surf the Internet or watch non-school-related videos (etc.) instead of focusing on your schoolwork.

All this makes an impact on the education you receive.


Thank you for that response

I'm going to rebut my opponent's case.

1) Cognitive mapping

Actually an eBook can do the exact same thing my opponent describes, because the eBook is written exactly like a textbook. Meaning that the textbook benefits still exist with an eBook

2) Health

E-readers weren't even damaging to eyes 5 years ago.

“The new LCDs don’t affect your eyes,” Mr. Taussig said.

Allow me to explain why this is true, so you don't have to go digging through all that evidence to get to my point (although you can find the paragraph by hitting ctrl+f then copy and pasting the quoted text into the little box that appears).

So anyway, the evidence basically says that the lights in a screen update the image every 8 to 10 milliseconds while our eyes update the image every 30 milliseconds, meaning that the screen looks constant to us. So it's essentially the same eye strain as staring at a piece of paper, except that you can adjust the text to make it easier to read.

As for the color of the screen (the only thing that will really cause an sort of aches), Kindles are generally designed so that the books on there will appear in a soft light warm hue as opposed to the bright blue light a computer usually has. It basically looks like the pages of a book and causes the same amount of eye strain (I don't know about you, but I've gotten several headaches from reading my textbooks. That's just going to happen to people regardless).

Screens have improved since then, meaning that we're fine to read off of screens.

3) Distractions

This is where we need to start testing the teachers. Put a teacher in front of a video of a bunch of students. Three of the students are staring at their tablets and not typing. The rest are constantly looking back and forth between the board and their tablets.

Ask them which ones are taking notes.

Ask them which ones are watching March Madness.

If the teacher cannot figure this out, that teacher no longer qualifies to teach.

My point here (and maybe I was a little too sarcastic about it) is that teachers can tell if a student isn't paying attention pretty easily. Teachers can tell if you're day dreaming or half asleep. They can tell if you're playing games on your tablet.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2


I will now state some advantages of having a textbook.

1. Learners:
Visual Learners (the majority of the student population): Studies have shown that people using printed textbooks actually extract more from the content in front of them than those who use tablets or e-books. With textbooks, a visual placement of information is obtainable. Unlike a tablet, using a textbook is simple. For example, if I need to highlight, annotate, or circle different words to help me sufficiently absorb information, it's easy to snatch a pen or pencil nearby and make notes. However, with a tablet, I cannot fulfill my need to understand better the information. I cannot be as well-organized as I want to be. Just to mark something on a tablet, I would have to change tools (or even tabs). By then, I'd definitely lose my train of thought. Never-ending scrolling can be tiring and weary. Plus, words on a tablet have different fonts and sizes which take away from the overall learning experience of an individual.

Kinesthetic learners: In addition, the newer textbooks are allowing students to write their answers, responses, and take notes inside their textbook. There are many students which value the kinesthetic traits of a textbook. Feeling the textbook, highlighting in it, and turning the pages allows kinesthetic learners to understand better the lesson.

2. Penmanship
Textbooks encourage students to write and take notes while reading. Although tablets have apps in which you can take notes in, the lack of writing with a pencil and paper will eventually disrupt a scholar"s handwriting. (Yes, I know you can take notes on a separate paper but isn"t it kind of hard to organize physical notes with online lessons?) Anyways, most kids spend their free time on electronics so when exactly will they practice their penmanship? I have many friends who have really bad handwriting due to lack of practice.


Thank you for your response.

I'm going to go back over that last round then point something out that applies across the debate.

1) Learners

My opponent here doesn't really provide any sort of evidence concerning the highlighting usage of a tablet.

I beg to differ. I had an app called iAnnotate in high school for my iPad, which had a very easy control panel where I could click on a pen or a marker or a highlighter and mark all over my text, and I didn't have to worry about it bleeding onto the next page. It was faster and easier than using actual highlighters and such in my textbook.

Aside from the above point, my school did not let us mark in our textbooks unless it was pencil and we erased it at the end of the year. So while it may be different at other schools, not all schools have the benefit of marking in the textbook, meaning that eBooks are a better option on two levels.

Aside from that, lots of e-readers require you to make the motion flipping a page in order to switch pages meaning we still get the same benefit here.

And my opponent attacks fonts saying that it distracts from learning. I'm not sure what my opponent means. Some people need bigger text in order to read clearly, something that can't be adjusted in a textbook. I need my opponent to further explain why font is such a negative when it comes to learning.

2) Penmanship

Well to be honest, penmanship is becoming less important by the year, but my opponent did make a flawed argument here as well.

I'm getting the feeling that my opponent is forgetting that eBooks are almost exactly like textbooks. That means you can have the eBook out along with a pencil and paper and take notes while referencing your eBook. There's no signficant harm here.

Now allow me to address some other things that are on my side:

1) Just a few more benefits of eBooks:

- Tablets are light meaning that instead of carrying around 50 pounds of books and school supplies, you can just carry a 1 pound tablet and school supplies, which allows your backpack to last longer saving the students money.

- Tablets do not require a forest to be cut down, while making the paper for all the textbooks in the US will require cutting down a signficant number of trees. Trees take a long time to regrow, and they give us oxygen.

- The fact that we avoid cutting down trees saves us money on textbooks which can ultimately make them cheaper, which saves school's money.

- The resources on the Internet or within the tablet enable students more than a textbook and paper.

- Most businesses heavily rely on electronics, so having students learn how to do work on an electronic device before getting a job better prepares them.

Anyway, that's all for now.

2) Dropped points

Now allow me to address the debate. My opponent has dropped all of the points before round 3, meaning that he conceded the entire debate up until round three. So all of the arguments before round 3 now work for my side along with my arguments in round three. My opponent has a chance to make rebuttals in the last round.

Thank you for reading.
Debate Round No. 3


soccermessi12 forfeited this round.


Thank you for reading.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Sicarius 10 months ago
Some people just can't concentrate (me) looking at a computer screen all day. I am the type of person that needs to have a actual book in front of me. However although I agree with CON, PRO is giving some solid arguments. I wish I could vote.
Posted by YjHan 11 months ago
Good question! I think textbooks should not be replace by technology. However, they need to change with support of technology. Foreign languaeg textbooks are replacing their CDs with QR codes on each page so that students can scan the code with their smartphones. Textbook should stay, but as long as they are armed with technology.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Wylted 10 months ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I'm going to award conduct for the forfeit. If another person votes on this debate. I may remove the vote altogether later, if somebody else votes on this debate, regardless of which way they vote