The Pros & Cons: Tablets vs. Textbooks

The University of Notre Dame is temporarily substituting textbooks in some of its classes with iPads to see how use of the tablet device affects learning, according to an article in today's Wall Street Journal . So far, students find the coursework “more interesting.”

My first reaction to the article was as the parent of a child, someday (I pray) bound for college. I'm psyched! If e-readers replace textbooks, then we can skip the annual pilgrimage to the campus book store. We'd buy one iPad, download texts, and save a bundle of money. My son would be less likely to misplace one iPad than six textbooks, so we'd also cut down on replacement fees. The possibilities are endless. (Newly released statistics from digital course materials provider show that college students returning to classes this January will save an average of $60 per title by using e-textbooks.)

My second reaction was as a business journalist. What a fantastic opportunity for Apple and/or other e-reader manufacturers. If you are, say, Apple and you become the exclusive supplier to the Notre Dame bookstore, it's practically a license to print money. Every year a new batch of incoming freshmen has to buy your product to complete their coursework. You can offer trade-ins, upgrades, and used e-readers (similar to the way textbooks are sold now). Again, the possibilities are endless.

Then, being the supply chain geek that I am, I thought about logistics. Wouldn't textbook companies have to license their content? Charge less for downloads than they do for texts? Would they lose on the sale of hundreds or even thousands of textbooks per semester? Why would they want to do this? Also, it occurs to me that there may be some competitive issues around offering iPads and not, for example, Kindles, in the campus bookstore.

None of those questions was answered in the study, which focuses on learning (it is a university, after all). The study, called the eReader Project, looked at undergraduates in a project-management course at Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business this past fall. The sampling of students was small: 40 students in the course used WiFi iPads for seven weeks of the semester; a second wave of 38 students received them in the second half of the semester.

The students were required to download a course e-book in lieu of the physical textbook typically required. (They were given the option of passing up the iPad and going with a hardcover book, but students unanimously chose to go along with the iPad project.) Article and PDF print-outs were provided as supplementary reading, but 22 of the 40 students surveyed said they did 100 percent of the course reading, as well as some additional reading, on their iPad loaners.

The jury is still out on whether or not the iPads enhanced learning. Students were no more distracted in class then they were pre-iPad — most students have cell or smartphones — but highlighting and note taking were more difficult on the devices.

The university has redistributed the iPads to law students this semester, and plans to continue to equip students with iPads as educational tools to see how it impacts learning. The school is also eyeing Android tablet devices, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab. The Kindle was a contender at the start of the project, but the color screens on tablet devices were the biggest selling point in an educational setting.

If your business were to go after the education market, what are the “must have” attributes you'd put on your product? And would it be a tablet device, a laptop, or something else? I'd like to hear what readers think — my son is in the Class of 2015.

54 comments on “The Pros & Cons: Tablets vs. Textbooks

  1. Anand
    January 24, 2011


     Definitely I would go with tablet device rather than laptop. But I still feel tablet device and laptop both distract the stduents because most of the students gets hooked onto social networking sties. One thing I would love to add to the tablet device is “College lock feature”, as soon as you enter the college network automatically social networking sites, non-educational websites gets blocked.

  2. eemom
    January 24, 2011

    If the question is textbook vs. tablet, I'll go with textbooks.  I agree with the previous post that tablets present way too many distractions.  One can be studying when suddently you have an email or a new facebook post that pops up.  I know my daughter's high school is not distributing text books and they are making them available on-line.  I elected to purchase the textbooks so my daughter can have a hard copy.  It is already difficult to monitor and restrict on-line presence, having on-line textbooks makes the process even more difficult for parents.

    If the question is between tablets and notebooks, well I hate to show my age but, I would have to go with a notebook.  I have an iPad, which I love, but I find it impossible to type anything lengthy using the touch screen.  I prefer a real keyboard to type from, it is faster and more efficient.


  3. AnalyzeThis
    January 24, 2011

    First of all, I think using iPads for this study was slightly un-wise… the iPad is an entertainment device that just happens to be capable of serving as an e-reader. I'm sure many students enjoyed playing games and watching movies on their iPads.

    Now e-readers, on the other hand, I think have a bright future in the classroom. Within 5-10 years, we'll get to the point where b&w e-readers are $25-$50, which makes buying them for elementary school students completely feasible.

    Using e-readers instead of traditional textbooks has so many advantages: less weight to carry around, obviously, but also more easily customized content, much easier to update material (no more History teachers having to teach out of textbooks printed in the mid-80's), decreased cost of material, etc.

    I find the paragraph about students having more difficulty with note taking a little odd… because it's not like students traditionally do much highlighting or note taking on traditional textbooks. You're not supposed to deface them, especially if you're a college student looking to re-sell them. I don't really see how using an e-reader makes taking notes any harder (although I may agree that it doesn't make note taking that much easier).

    Anyhow, in the educational space, I think what will ultimately be successful are cheap, near-disposable, black & white e-readers. You really need to focus on a low price point, because a child losing a $400+ tablet would be a disaster, but a child accidently smashing his $25 e-reader during recess would be just a minor inconvenience.

  4. Barbara Jorgensen
    January 24, 2011

    DennisQ–those were benefits I hadn't thought of–the immediate availability of updated material. I'd tend to agree the e-reader is a better idea than the iPad at least in terms of functionality–if it's supposed to replace textbooks, then hold the movies and music, please. On the flip side, I can see the value of video or other types of media being included in the coursework.

    Carrying around an e-reader is a huge plus–I was a lit major and my Riverside Shakespeare text weighed a good 5 pounds. But it's also one of the books I kept from my college days–at least the content won't go out of date.

  5. SP
    January 24, 2011

    The most debatable topic these days. Well on one one hand you just cannot stop technology to overpower the basic necessities and on other hand how much you love doing things in their purest form. Like my 2year daughter is almost addicted to you tube, she knows to shut down my laptop, select videos from playlist and demand what she wants to see. I can't imagine she wanting to see Black eyed peas song. The point I am making is today's generation wants and gets all sophistication at a much younger age so they very well would like to learn on iPAD.

    In my personal view these electronic gadgets would defitely be a boon for post graduates or even graduates but for primary and seconday education I would love to have notebooks and text books. Primary and secondary education makes the basis of an individual educational career. If someone can guarantee that there wont be server hangups or slowdown, power outage or what if someone steals my ipad, in how much amount I can buy another one, I would think of giving that to my kid.

    But being a technical person myself, i know its inevitable that ipad or any other electonic gadget do not replace textbooks and notebooks in future. All I can dream is kids have the ipad of the size of a notebook so its easy to read. The interface to write on ipad should be same as writing on a notebook. If that happen why not, who wants kids to carry heavy backpacks???



  6. DataCrunch
    January 24, 2011

    I recently read an article and saw a TV commercial as well that the new Hyundai Equus will come with an iPad, which will include the owner’s manual and allow customers to schedule service appointments with the device.  I can see more and more luxury car manufacturers including a table device with the purchase of the vehicle.  This is a good PR move as it also promotes less paper and more eco-friendly.

    My question to the community: Is this a trend in which companies/universities will be including tablets as part of the purchase or in the case of universities, the curriculum?  Also, what happens to the people who already have a tablet, could this become tablet overload?  Can someone own too many tablets? 


  7. Jay_Bond
    January 24, 2011

    On the choice of tablets over textbooks, I would say each has their attributes. Personally, I think an e-reader would be a better choice than an Ipad or Android tablet.

    The E-reader is more affordable, just as compact and easy to carry and multiple classes can be loaded. The competition is more of an entertainment tool and would be an alternative to a lap top over a text book. There are some people that have issues reading so much content on a screen and getting eye strain over it. Since many people tend to highlight important facts and phrases, this would be hard to do on a black and white e-reader with a fixed program not allowing editing.

    I'm sure over the next decade text books are going to be replaced by some form of electronic device. Who knows, by that time technology could have a better replacement than any current options.


  8. Tim Votapka
    January 24, 2011

    I have to admit I was somewhat skeptical about the e-reader trend, but then that was before I started to lift a middle-schoolers backpack. This text-nutty generation already spends most of their waking hours hunched over enough as it is. I'll have to scrounge around and see what the ergonomic studies indicate.

  9. mfbertozzi
    January 24, 2011

    Recently, coming back from Far East I have experienced something similar; due to strong winter impacting shipment and any kind of distributions abroad,  newpapers inside waiting rooms at the airports, were available by free tablets instead of traditional printed copies. In my opinion it was very useful, but  speaking about education…why electronic would like to avoid pleasure for children to strip a traditional book maybe with pictures by hand inside (and without worries about power or sands from the sea?) What's more fascinating? A video or dated book?

  10. Parser
    January 25, 2011

    I think that it is great idea and I would choose iPad over textbook. The information on the iPad may have scientific movies, links to touch and much more than any textbook could offer ever before. Besides information can be updated without throwing away paper (or even recycling it).

    In a few high schools in California the iPad has been already implemented and it works well. I cannot wait to see innovated approach to learning material (I am not calling it textbook) placed on iPad or iPad like devices. This has a potential of revolutionizing learning process.  

  11. prabhakar_deosthali
    January 25, 2011

    In India the textbooks for schools are publishd by the state governments and sold at  much subsidised rates. They are  even distributed free for the economically weaker sections of students. In such a scenario a tablet device , though very useful and saves paper, cannot be a good alternative to text books  unless it is available at the similar price to the students.

  12. mfbertozzi
    January 25, 2011

    I agree with you prabhakar, scenario you described is quite similar to other countries; if we would like to focus the discussion on schools, it is absolutely also a matter of costs and I believe it's another factor to take in consideration within pros/cons scheme, isn't it?

  13. elctrnx_lyf
    January 25, 2011

    Using the ipad is definitely a good option for students starting from high school since the distractions can be less. But with the kids in the primary school i do not accept with the idea of ipad. Another major drawback of using ipad at very early could cause health problems. I'm not sure how much research is going into this, at what age kids can actually get adapted to using gadgets with bigger LCD displays. I'm really concerned about this…

  14. Susan Fourtané
    January 25, 2011


    Yes, I believe this is an increasing trend that more companies/universities/hospitals/etc will be including tablets as part of their purchase/curriculum/medical daily equipment/etc. 

    As for your question about tablet overload, would you say there is a cell/smartphone or laptop overload? As we now have a work phone and personal phone and a work/study laptop and personal laptop, the same will happen with tablets. 


  15. Susan Fourtané
    January 25, 2011


    I don't understand your concern about kids using the iPad at school. This might vary from country to country but since kids start elementary school they already carry a cell phone with them to be reached by their parents at any time or vice versa. These same kids have access to a computer at home. What could be the difference of using a tablet at school or home to do their homework? Let's not forget that these are the kids who were born in the era of technology. They don't see technology and gadgets as something strange that can only be an option or alternative to some other things, e.g. books. They see technology and all the gadgets their parents use as something normal and part of their daily life. In this context, they can't be distracted by something that is absolutely normal in the lives. The mistake here comes from adults who were introduced to technology, gadgets and the Internet at a later time in their lives. Therefore, when having the first cell phone or the first computer or the first Internet connection they got distracted like a kid with a new toy. Now those adults think the kids of the 21st century can go through the same distraction without considering that the experience is completely different. 

    What health problems can an iPad cause to the kids? In fact, carrying a backpack full of heavy books five days a week for some long time is a real cause of health problems, for example, the beginning of lower back pain and injuries that go unnoticed most of the time. 

    I also see you don't trust the adaptability of the human being's body and mind to the fast paced evolution the world is experiencing. It has been proven by research conducted by neuroscientists that the human brain adapts and reacts faster than what many think.

    Never underestimate today's kids. –


  16. Mydesign
    January 25, 2011

         The growth and application of IT in education sector is tremendous for the last couple of years. Recently I had a visit to one of the European country. So as a part of research conference, I just visited one of the departments in a famous school. There teacher are taking class with the help of big LCD monitor and supporting IT infrastructure. Its teacher’s duty to prepare the study materials, based on syllabus either in PPT with necessary animation or in some other supporting format. With the help of these documents teachers are taking classes and for clarifying doubts students can browse the internet at real-time. Students can also access the same study materials either by Bluetooth mechanism or WIFI methods.

         Using the tablet devices of learning purpose has both advantage and disadvantages; it have the convenience of storing and carrying all the data’s in a compactable device and retraceable, whenever needed. It can reduce the usage of papers and hence save the ecco system for much greenery.  The major disadvantages are addiction for such devices during school days, handling with toxic substances like lead, magnesium, mercury etc, which are used for the manufacturing of such devices. Interaction with toxic metals during the growing up stage can cause health related problems too.

         In my personal opinion, if technology is growing like this, near future the text books may disappear or pave the way for hand held devices in class room. Parents and students may call it as high-tech class rooms, but we have to teach students more about our nature, ecco system and how to lead a natural friendly life.

  17. Susan Fourtané
    January 25, 2011


    Online libraries, like Questia, offer a tool to highlight the books you are reading. You can also make notes, save them or print them. There are already some applications for tablets doing this or similar.


  18. Susan Fourtané
    January 25, 2011


    Do you also think that as soon as the employees get into the company's network area all the social network sites and non-work related websites should automatically be blocked? 

    A fear that students can get distracted using tablets and the Internet in class is just a mirror of those employees who get distracted at work by the same things. Otherwise, why not trust the students in the same way the employees are trusted? Responsibility and ethics are to be learned and practiced at an early stage. The sooner the better. 


  19. Susan Fourtané
    January 25, 2011


    The tablet is not responsible for its owner's distractions as the tablet doesn't have the ability to turn on and off applications like email or Facebook by itself. So, if you are working or studying and suddenly receive an email of Facebook pop up alert saying you got a new message and you are curious enough and not disciplined enough that you have to open it immediately it is exclusively your fault and not the tablet's if you can't keep your focus on whatever you are working or studying. You can always choose to turn off the alerts or close your email and Facebook completely while you work/study. Is your phone also ringing and distracting you with unexpected calls or text messages when working or studying? Then you should have turn it off, too. It's just the same case. If you want to really focus on something and are not able to multi-task then it's your choice and responsibility to turn off everything that can cause you a distraction.

    Let's not blame the devices and the Internet for our own faults, lack of responsibility or lack of discipline. 



  20. Barbara Jorgensen
    January 25, 2011

    This is a great discussion and the kind of thing product developers should look for in designing the next generation of tablet or e-reader.  Take the things potential buyers don't like–the phone, the Internet–but enhance the screen for color, size and video. Simplify highlighting and note taking. Maybe a window to jot down questions to ask or send to the professor after class. Make it easy to upgrade so you don't have to buy a new tablet every couple of years. Offer several versions–a stripped-down model through the deluxe model–to make them affordable.

    I'd also target colleges vs. the lower grades. High schools have lockers so kids don't have to carry the books everywhere. I still am attached to the printed word and I think the basics–such as using a dictionary rather spell-check–should be taught in grade and high school.


  21. eemom
    January 25, 2011


    I wasn't really blaming the device, as I mentioned, I own a iPad myself. I was simply making the point that for my teenager, who does not make the right decision to focus on her work first then attend to social media second, it is a distraction I do not want for her.  As adults, we can make decisions and understand their consequences, children and teens are not cognitively developed enough to do the same.  It is therefore, the responsibility of the adult to take away the necessary distractions to make sure the children are properly focused.

  22. saranyatil
    January 25, 2011

    i always feel text books are better options there is lot u can do when you use text books like kids can color the picture there, it creates a different feel plus we use sticky notes, markers etc, but with all the above text books also has its own negatives any additional information needed should be surfed unlike when you have a tablet. my option will be for Textbooks.

  23. stochastic excursion
    January 25, 2011

    Tablets make a lot of sense for universities, where textbooks would otherwise pile up from courses that only have a peripheral interest.  Most professionals keep only a few of their college texts for reference.  The rest are just wasted resources and quickly obsolete.

    They make sense for public schools, too, which are generally strapped for funds.  There have been comments pointing out the disadvantage of younger students carrying around a full-blown computer to reference course material.  Maybe better to store material on an e-book like a kindle to avoid the information overload.

    Unclear whether the e-books have improved on display optics to make them less prone to impairing vision.  This is a major issue because hours of intense study should only be done with hardcopy printed media unless display technology has been proven to be benign with respect to a person's vision.

  24. Parser
    January 25, 2011

    There are many parenting styles and I had been convinced that my son had to know and operate everything with ease and fluency. Part of learning. A discipline was a different subject and referred to any aspect of life from making bed, through homework to reading books. I could not see a difference while my son was doing homework with a paper and pencil vs. computer. Each one has destructions. Using computer gave him an edge and advantage. Now days using iPad resembles the same pros and cons and the discipline has to be taught along with it. iPad, also, will not replace hand drawing class or coloring book. It may augment them with modern approach to art and painting. 

  25. Jennifer Baljko
    January 25, 2011


    I'm so glad you wrote this post. The topic has been on my mind a lot lately, too. We're just at the beginning stages of exploring the possibilities of bringing e-readers, whether they are Kindles or iPads or Nooks or whatever comes next, into classrooms around the globe.

    You may find this interesting as well: is spearheading an ambitious project to put e-readers in the hands of school children in the developing world, particularly in places where books are incredibly difficult to come by (in many cases, schools in these regions don't have any books in their classrooms at all). They recently launched a program with 500 school kids of various ages in Ghana, and have things in the pipeline for Kenya.

    Basically, the idea is that because e-readers run on mobile phone technology, it's much easier to use in countries where Internet connectivity still leaves much to be desired. But, since cell phones and supporting networks are almost everywhere these days, downloading educational material can be done with a push of a button. Just a few days ago, in fact, they pushed electronically more than 23,000 books to the kids in the Ghana program. Like you mentioned, getting content digitized and formatted is a hurdle, as is making the devices more durable for harsher-world climates (Ghana certainly isn't Silicon Valley). The group is working with publishing companies, device makers, and a host of other companies to resolve these issues. It will be a meeting of minds on many fronts.

    Let me also mention that one of the co-founders, David Risher, previously held senior positions at Amazon and Microsoft, and also has a strong education background. So, the potential reach and usefulness of these new devices are already catching cross-industry attention. Give it a bit more time, and the wave will spread even further.

    For full disclosure, as of just a couple days ago, I am volunteering with Worldreader. I stumbled upon this WSJ article and was completely moved by a fairly simple concept that I jumped at the chance to get involved: Technology can change even more lives in even more profound ways. It's as easy as putting a digital book in the hands of a child in the middle of Africa.

  26. Susan Fourtané
    January 25, 2011

    Dennis Q, very good points!

    What if Apple provided the tablets for the study or gave the university a good discounted price? After all, this study can also serve as a good marketing campaign. 

    I am pretty sure manufacturers can produce a very affordable tablet for educational purposes, a tablet that could only include the necessary applications for helping and assisting the learning/teaching process at all levels of education. A tablet that not necessary has to be fancy but practical and useful. 

    Note taking using a tablet is just a matter of practice that will see its benefits as soon as some savvy kids develop a smart technique for it. Adaptation and willingness to learn are fundamental here. Also, think of the elementary school kids who start using a tablet as their first way of taking notes, they have nothing else to compare to and are the ones who will show that there is no secret into it. There's a reason why the product is in the market, it has been tested, right? 


  27. Susan Fourtané
    January 25, 2011


    Great and timely topic for a lively discussion! 

    Video and good graphics are going to be a fundamental part in teaching some subjects if not all of them. I wouldn't neglect them as a good plus for a device thought for the educational market. 


  28. Barbara Jorgensen
    January 25, 2011

    Jennifer–thanks for the additional perspective on how these tools can help beyond cost-savings and profit margins. What a great idea. I can't imagine my life without books (I still read them the old-fashioned way) and yet take them for granted. Almost all technology was originally invented to improve lives, and I can't think of a better way than bringing e-books and e-readers to under-served areas. Cell phone technology is a brilliant solution to a problem too few of us even think about. Thanks for spreading the word. 🙂

  29. JLS
    January 25, 2011

    Having two boys in high school, I can see the advantage of having soft textbooks, but Ipads are not the right format.  A netbook is a more practical format since it includes a keyboard and protects the screen when it isn't being used and carried around.  The probelm I have is that it is too general purpose and with my kids, they would be on YouTube or blogging instead of paying attention to their studies.  It's just too easy for kids to get distracted (adults, too!).  What is needed is a “student OS” that is intended for doing school work, not general purpose computing.  It would lock out inappropriate applications and web sites without a password.  It would be good for note taking, support word processing, powerpoint, and Excel.  There are certainly web sites that are useful for getting information, but there needs to be limits on what can be accessed.  Since most school books are color, the screen needs to support a full color display.  And it needs to be able to network with a printer. 

    Put that together and you have a winner

  30. proent
    January 25, 2011

    Tablet – Considering the infrastructure to support this device for eductation purpose take much resources and over long period before it can be proven qualify to be a perfect mean for education.

    Softcopies to support this education tool is a big issue.

    Also, what happen if the tablet reliability and robust enough in your routine usage ? and carrying it around is not definitely sure that its programs and data will be secure enough at minimum risk of virus infection and software corruption, hardware malfunction, mishandling etc… It is the matter of total lost if any of the possibilties happened. These are some points needed to take into consideration against the conventional text book.

    Well, it is a total different scenario of using the tablet for education purpose.

  31. Hardcore
    January 25, 2011

    There is  an interesting article here:

    Highlighting a number of issues related to E-readers and material retention, however I think that most users are overlooking a number of key issues with electronic copies

    1. Retainability.

    I buy a book, and then will read it a few times, throw it in a corner and then come back to it a few years later, unfortunately many of these 'e' readers are not cross compatible in the way they secure some book copies, which means when you up-grade/replace your hardware there is a chance you 'loose' books.

    Not to mention that once your batteries go defective or your device fails , you are left totally without access to any of the material you have paid for, if their was ever another war, that impacted the infrastructure, all the written material stored in that format would be lost.

    2. Privacy.

    As each month goes by people are giving up more and more of their privacy, now they are allowing advertisers access to the sorts of material they read,the number of times they read it, and the passages of text the read the most (hay ladies now they can track which pages you read the most in any romantic novels)

    There is actually a re-surgence it 'romantic' novels for women becasue they  now think  have a 'safe' place to keep them (inside the E-reader), in reality the options of them being spied on secretly just increased several fold.

    3. Cost.

    The cost of the material does not reflect the loss of transport costs/ paper/ storage/ production, and you can bet that the Authors are not better off under the new system.

    Where possible I will be sticking with 'real' books as long as i can.

  32. Eldredge
    January 26, 2011

    On a personal note, I just find it easier / more comfortable to read from a book rather than an electronic device. Perhaps it's just the fsamiliarity thing, but I do think you bring up excellent points.

  33. Taimoor Zubar
    January 26, 2011

    If tablets are to be used in place of textbooks and exercise books in classes during lectures, I think they would create a huge distraction for students. Students would be tempted to check emails, browse websites or perform other activities on the tablet device. With the good old text books, the distraction level is minimal.

  34. stochastic excursion
    January 26, 2011

    It's easy to see that there's cost advantages in publishing content to e-readers vs. printed hardcopy.  Will that extra margin go to the author?  Doubtful, but I guess it depends how good the author's agent is.  The publishing business model looks like it has to go through some changes, much like the music industry.  That leads to the question of whether people will still be able to produce great works of literature.  If your faith in man is strong, the answer's yes, but let's not be too sanguine.  The next dark ages may not be ushered in by great libraries being razed to the ground, but by a little kindle.  Of course we're too smart to let that happen.

    Issues of privacy raised almost go without saying.  Most technological advances in the information age tend to further marketeering and data mining of the minutiae in the realm of personal habits.  So standing up for privacy is nearly equatable with a Luddite mentality, but let's take a closer look.  There have been advances that reinforce the autonomy of individuals and organizations–pretty good cryptography is a good example–but these tend to raise the hackles, rightly or wrongly, of those that advocate for expanded authoritarian police powers.  So whether technology invades our privacy becomes more of a policy issue.

  35. Barbara Jorgensen
    January 26, 2011

    Hardcore–those are really good points, especially about the battery life! You can always read a book by cnadlelight or firelight if all else fails. That might be one of the basics people over look in the drive toward technological convenience. Has anyone tried recently to use a payphone when their cell battery dies? I have–it ain't pretty.

  36. Parser
    January 26, 2011

    Many people complain about destruction an iPad can bring to a classroom with email, web browser etc. This is the only place to prepare a new generation to work efficiently in design teams, with opposite sex and with computers. Work place brings computers to every profession and with it all destructions including corporate email etc. The schools should give a glimpse of real life and teach how to focus being surrounded by destructions. 

  37. jorgecab
    January 26, 2011

    Why not to use a kinetic charger?

    It charges the bat, and also you work your muscles

  38. Hardcore
    January 26, 2011


    Yes I'm doing some work with a Chinese pad manufacturer, so I get to  take apart a number of different products.

    My biggest problems so far is battery life, followed by reliability of both hardware and software.

    Even with a full charge you are looking at about a maximum of 4 hours, but then again that depends on ambient light levels, (Interestingly it is REVERSE, if ambient is high, then the back lights need to be on full, if you are reading at night the batteries last longer.)

    Counter intuitive, but since the screens rely on a reverse backlight you are fighting against ambient light and reflection.

    On the software front, under  the  Android operating system , the number of 'exploits' and information stealing applications running in the background  really is quite significant, especially on China sourced product.

    People 'slag' Apple off , but at least when you purchase a device from Apple, it is 'clean'

    The real 'doosey' to all this technology is, there are rumblings in the news of airlines banning the likes of pad devices from being switched on, because they now find that electronic devices do cause problems.

    So there goes any opportunity to 'read a book' during a long flight, or even a short flight for that matter.





  39. Himanshugupta
    January 26, 2011

    i agree with you, Eldredge, that books are more comfortable to read and as we are more used to them so they are natural choice. But recently, i am practicing to read articles and newitems on the web rather than printing them on paper. It is taking time but i am getting more comfortable. As i do not own ipad or any other device, i am not experienced. I use my macbook to read. Apart from battery life, i find reading during the day or in bright sunlight nearly impossible. 

  40. Himanshugupta
    January 26, 2011

    In my opinion, it is matter of time that we will start using devices like ipad or kindle or galaxy tab instead of printed material. In higher studies (especially law, business, engineering), it is a necessity to have a laptop. Not many people submit hand written report. And with the soft copy of the text book readily available, student will find it easier to study and ultimately will get use to reading from electronic devices.

  41. Eldredge
    January 26, 2011

    One of the advantages of the tablet is the ability to search for specific subject matter or topics for focused reading.

  42. Susan Fourtané
    January 27, 2011


    Airlines are not banning the use of laptops, tablets, phones or any other electronic device during the whole flight. They only ask passengers to switch off the electronic devices some minutes before, during and after take off and landing to avoid frequency interference.

    Many airlines offer WiFi connection in their flights for passengers' electronic devices in business class. 


  43. Barbara Jorgensen
    January 27, 2011

    Yikes! If airlines did ban the use of this stuff on flights, that's a game-changer. I'll be following that with interest if it is up for debate

  44. Clairvoyant
    January 27, 2011

    Parser, I believe you meant 'destraction', not 'destruction' in your post, but I do see your point. I can see how that point could be argued both ways.

  45. Parser
    January 27, 2011

    Thank you for spelling correction.

    Many people complain about distraction an iPad can bring to a classroom with email, web browser etc. This is the only place to prepare a new generation to work efficiently in design teams, with opposite sex and with computers. Work place brings computers to every profession and with it all distraction  including corporate email etc. The schools should give a glimpse of real life and teach how to focus being surrounded by destructions. 

  46. Susan Fourtané
    January 28, 2011

    Absolutely! I totally agree with you. 

    I don't agree with people who say that students should go only looking straight without turning their heads a bit to see what is there next to them, which will be a “distraction”. 

    Today, as you well have said, we work with computers all day long, we are constantly seeing the alerts popping up with incoming email, we are checking the time because we have a meeting in half an hour, we are working on a project or writing something and maybe attending a webinar at the same time, we're listening to a presentation, writing comments about it on the chat room, we answer the phone or reply to a text message. 

    Multi-tasking has become part of our lives and day after day we're challenged to become better at it. If students are not well trained in multi-tasking since the beginning they are probably going to have some serious problems when they are faced to it in their first job. 


  47. Damilare
    January 28, 2011

    i agree, i dont really see tablets and other portable devices as a distraction in terms of learning. These devices make it possible for students to be equiped with so much information without having to carry huge textbook around. it also saves alot of time using them compared to trying to find information in textbooks

  48. Hardcore
    January 29, 2011

    Personally I'm for  a more flexable learning environment, certainly as regards new technology and even more so in third-world countries where access to more advanced material is usually limited, either for cost reasons or distribution

    That said, I did several years of tuition in a computing environment, and one on the biggest problems was keeping the students focused on the material at hand.

    I personally took the view that as long as the students were using the computer  in a constructive manner then it really did not matter if we stuck too closely to the daily lesson plans.

    But with modern technology comes modern distractions, certainly in the  shape of facebook/twitter and other social networknig sites.

    I cannot really see where they would fit in the classroom environment, other than to teach children bad habits as regards correctly formatted grammar,  then there is the issue of ensuring that the children learn in a sefe and secure environment.





  49. maou_villaflores
    January 30, 2011

    I don't see and competition between tablets and textbooks. I think the most important thing is the quality content of what the audience is getting from either tablets and textbooks.

  50. Ms. Daisy
    January 30, 2011

    I seem to agree with your view. The content quality is paramount to the reader regardless of the mode of delivery. What is becoming apparent is audience preference to well written materials.

  51. prabhakar_deosthali
    January 31, 2011

    One of the disadvantage of Tablets against the text books is that all the content in a Tablet is a soft material. As far as my experience goes any such soft material, text,  pictures etc does not create a permenant impression in your memory.  Such content is faceless and though it is easy to read, it is also easily forgotten. The purpose of the text books is to impart some permenant Knowledge to the student which will remain with them for their life time, Especially the text book content for the school chirdren.  I vividly remember the text books which I read in my school days some 50 years ago, not only the content but the visual images of their apperance ,the pictures along with the lessons, even the smell of the paper. Compare this with the downloadable content in a Tablet. Will it have the same permenant impression on the students and will it give them such life lasting memories of their school days?

  52. electronics862
    January 31, 2011

    Compared to a traditional book-heavy backpack, the tablet’s light weight makes it easy to port and its flat design allows for eye contact between students and instructors in the classroom. There’s also a large library of educational apps available. Use of the tablet in education could help reduce dollars spent on books and paper.

  53. seel225
    January 31, 2011

    Both Tablets and Textbooks have pros and cons but i would prefer textbooks.

    Why textbooks? There are several reasons. First, buying a tablet costs 500 bucks and students have to download e books which are not free and if they lose their Tablet all the books and data will go off, but if student lost a book it doesn't cost so much and obviously he will not lose all books at once. Reading through text books is much comfortable than tablet. 

    I have seen many people using tablets to read news papers and novels, and i like using Tablet but replacing tablets with textbooks i don't prefer.

  54. SME_Business_services
    April 9, 2011

    Tablet computing has long been a technology in which Gates has believed.

    After some early trials of the technology Microsoft gave it a major push in 2001 when at the Comdex trade show Gates launched the tablet PC platform. “It's a PC that is virtually without limits and within five years I predict it will be the most popular form of PC sold in America,” he said.

    The first tablet PCs came on the market in 2002. However, the original dream of Microsoft and hardware makers to push the technology into the mainstream never came true. Today, tablet PCs remain in several vertical markets but have yet to break out to the average consumer.

    Now, the technology is about to get another chance.


    SME blog-Top b2b blog india | manufacturers business blog | b2b marketplace blog

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