It is a debate that has flooded America’s education system—to go digital or not to go digital. Many states, schools districts, and schools are actively pursuing the implementation of digital readers and tablets for its many benefits.

For one, tablets and readers such as the Amazon Kindle Fire HD, iPad, iPad mini, Barnes and Noble Nook HD, and the Google Nexus 7 are much lighter than traditional textbooks. These devices also peak students interest more so than paper and ink textbooks. This is not surprising—any kid today would choose to play with a digital device over a paper book. The fact that students enjoy using these devices paves way for a way of teaching, where students are more engaged and their interest is sustained.

In a recent article about the shift to using tablets and e-readers in the classroom, this notion of kids growing up as “digital natives” was discussed as one of the reasons for implementing these devices in schools. Some educators think that since kids are growing up with this technology, where it is common for kids to use apps before they can even tie their own shoes, why not give them the tools that they are already comfortable with for learning? As individual in the article pointed out, it would be interesting to make kids leave their devices at the entrance only to pick them up again at the end of the school day.

Schools are going digital with devices like the iPad Mini
Image: Steve Kovach / Business Insider

What educators find great about digital textbooks and digital content is that it can be updated to correspond to the most recent events and research. For instance, the article talked about how high school students were able to implement Hurricane Sandy into their science lessons by tracking the storm and comparing barometric pressure and wind speed. Students were able to do this just within a few weeks of the event.

Schools are on board with the lower costs of these digital textbooks ($38-55 per student) compared to paper textbooks ($70 per student), but one issue that arises is whether these devices should be issued to students through the school or should become personal items. What do you think?