Tab Textbooks very soon?!
So the other day I saw this advertisement on TV for a Fisher Price tablet that shows a little baby learning the word “keys” through a tablet. How fast time flies! Where have the days of alphabet, number, animal charts and the likes,that we were so familiar with as children gone by. A little digging online and I found that the digital age is indeed fast taking over education in India too.
While quite a few posh private schools have already ventured into digital learning territory, smaller government schools are soon following. I read in a popular Indian daily newspaper, that popular Publisher Navneet has supplied tablets to more than a dozen government aided Marathi medium schools that has PDFs of textbooks used in the state. Soon kids will be having paperless textbooks and their heavy backpacks loaded with books will be replaced by a simple Tab Case perhaps??
While on one hand, I’m happy that children will be spared the burden of chugging along heavy books daily to school, I kind of wonder how effective learning from tablets will be. I used to love the feel of flipping pages in my textbooks, underlining, highlighting, dog-earing pages having important sections to study…(sigh) ..Maybe that’s just me, I’m pretty old school like that but pro Tablets supporters claim that students pick up information faster on digital interfaces than textbooks.
As stated in a Technopak (a management consulting firm in India) report, 12.5% of Indian schools have digital classrooms. That may seem like an insignificant number when there a lot of schools at village levels still struggling with lack of normal paper textbooks but despite all the odds, it seems that the percentage is bound to rise.
While the physical burden of paper textbooks will be removed, will the cost factor of digital textbooks pose as a burden in itself? How healthy is it for children to be solely using digital mediums for studying? A lot of questions still to be answered in the Textbook vs Tablet debate and only time will tell how far digital education will go in India.