What’s Up With the Written Word?


Amanda Teano, Online Editor, Reporter

Everyone was excited about the introduction of the one-to-one iPad program at Presentation four years ago. It opened the gates to an easily accessible classroom with digital submissions, a easy and portable place to take notes and an alternative to lugging around all the various books that Presentation demands.

However, there are still many teachers and classes who demand physical copies of the textbooks, workbooks, and novels. Presentation should switch to only online books and e-books because of the ruptures in student efficiency and health, decreases in class participation, expensive prices and environmental factors. Because of ruptures in student efficiency and health, decreases in class preparation and participation, expensive prices and environmental factors, Presentation should switch to only have online and e-books.

Around Pres, there’s a running joke of being able to tell a freshman by their backpack size. But those stuffed bags cannot be healthy and productive for a student, right?

According to Spine Health, carrying heavy backpacks, or carrying them in a way that strains the back, is a frequent cause of back pain in children and adolescents. Opponents argue that resting easily alleviates the pain however, the short term pain after lugging around the backpack in the halls throughout the class period. Focusing on the pain means a student loses the ability to focus on the class for the time being. Luckily, the same article also reports that no serious and permanent spinal deformities can be a result of heavy backpacks, but many doctors advise only carrying up to 15% of your bodyweight.

Ebooks also alleviate the worry about either leaving books behind or grabbing the wrong book. Some may say that it is far easier to lose one item: the iPad. However, most ebooks are purchased on accounts, most of which allow access on multiple devices. The easy solution would be logging in onto a loaner iPad and redownload the books.

The worry about participation points also dwindles when all the books needed in class are on the iPad. Junior Valerie Wu criticizes teachers who require students to bring in textbooks for their classes and dock off points if you do not have them present. Luckily, Wu has not fallen victim to this: “I’ve never forgotten to bring my iPad to school,” she says, “But if all our textbooks were on our iPads, that wouldn’t be an issue anymore.”

Going to a private school is already expensive, but then you add the expense of required school books each year. You’re expected to shell out hundreds of dollars for physical print textbooks and novels.

Looking at Presentation’s book store site, a required physical copy of the Honors Spanish III textbook is listed for $153.50. On the other hand, for statistics, you have the option of buying a physical textbook for $150.00 (even at the used price), or paying $69.49 for perpetual offline access. This means you’ll have the ability to read this book forever — no pesky expiration dates that’ll leave you asking for textbook pictures from a friend.

Ebooks are helpful for the students worried about spending too much additional money on school materials. The skirt is expensive enough.

Among English teachers, the consensus is to use physical copies of the version of a book. This would make it easier for the whole class to turn to Animal Farm, page 91 together. However, when using ebooks, students just need to type in a keyword or key phrase into the search function, and then everyone is on the same page. As for annotating and bookmarking pages, most ebooks have the ability to highlight words and type in comments to remind yourself why Napoleon killed those traitors.

According to Green Print Publishing, a reader would need to read around 23 books annually on their ereaders to help contribute to a greener environment. Certainly this can be done, especially as Presentation does not annually switch out each student’s’ iPad. The required textbooks, workbooks, and novels average out to about 15 books per school year. The same ereader can provide a way for readers to read a countless amount of books. By not constantly upgrading the iPads, Presentation can help make a more eco-friendly community.

Going off of that, buying purchasing ebooks is environmentally friendly. Green Print Publishing also reports that the book printing industry consumes 16 million tons of paper each year, which leads to 32 million fallen trees and emits 44 million tons of CO2. In comparison, electronic books consume far fewer resources and cause less damage to the surroundings.

Epublishers Weekly reports that 200 million free ebooks downloaded from Project Gutenberg and the World eBook Fair saved 3,200,000 trees from 2006 to 2009.

Most green-lifestyle websites say that loaning and borrowing books from others and libraries is the true way to go, but it is simply not logical for an entire school to be able to do so. It is also very unlikely that Presentation will buy books for all the students because of the high costs. The manner by which students attain books are up to them individually, so why not offer the ability to buy all books electronically?

The Presentation High School website boasts that the iPad is the center of the educational experience, but the end of the day, students continue to carry all their books in their backpacks.