Curious.. online vs physical textbooks...tech in general

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Registered: 05-13-1998
Curious.. online vs physical textbooks...tech in general
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Fri, 07-27-2012 - 5:17pm

I'm curious as to what your kids prefer if they've had the option between having an online or digital textbook and a physical textbook? How do they like to do their work?

My kids are split on this. DD 15, wants the physical book and prefers to do all her work on paper. She even writes her papers by hand and then types them after. She's had access to many of her texts digitally since middle school and she just doesn't feel she absorbs it the same. She hates turning in her work online and when given the option, will still turn in a hard copy as opposed to emailing. She starts at the community college in the fall and we just rented her books because she did not want the digital format period. DS 11, on-the-other-hand, LOVES digital format texts. He writes straight to the computer, he does all his math online, most of his school work is either submitted online or goes with him on a thumb drive. 

DD is just overall, less intergrated into the tech world while DS just dove right in. Dh and myself are actually less "old-fashioned" than DD in this reguard. Just thought it was interesting and wondered how other kids have either adopted or rejected the digital age (and I'm not really thinking in reguards to TV or video games... I'm thinking more in terms of how they process information best or just enjoy working the most.)

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-06-2010

Ditto. Online textbooks have limited access, unless your kid wants to prop a laptop in bed. Tablets are more comfortable, but both they and computers are harder on the eyes than a book or an e-book like the Kindle.

There's the other issue of distraction. How concentrated will you be reading online when you know YouTube is literally just a click away?

Finally, online textbooks (and resources in general) make it easy to slide into plagiarism via c&p. I was just discussing this issue with a teacher who said that nowadays, many kids seem to think that cutting and pasting texts= writing a report. They don't even understand the concept of plagiarism any longer.

I guess the bottom line for me is that I'd prefer to introduce online textbooks later rather than earlier - once kids have comfortable reading, writing and study habits.

On the other hand, I know that often when I start reading about a subject online, the proximity of search applications like Google means that I can (and do) very quickly research any related topics I don't fully understand or am especially interested in, which admittedly adds a nice touch to the whole learning experience.

Avatar for turtletime
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Registered: 05-13-1998

Up until now, it hasn't been an either/or issue. The kids had/have access to their middle school/high school texts in digital format along with the physical text. Since we do have a variety of portable devices, it's been pretty handy. Plus, the online texts usually came with access to other tutorials and step-by-step math examples and such. We "can" get access to online AND physical in college but it's really a cost issue.... pretty much have to buy the book twice. I guess I find it interesting that it's still cheaper to rent or even buy books used than get in digital format (though of course, digital still cheaper than buying new.) Of course, not such an issue with DD as she prefers the physical textbook. Maybe more so with DS gets to that point.

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Registered: 01-05-2005

Ds12 had online versions of his textbooks last year, which was a great option, but generally it was easier to use the hard  copies. We actually purchased used versions of the science, social studies and math textbooks (we knew ds10 would probably use them as well) because it was a lot to lug home every day (those three had nearly daily homework). We also have only one stand-alone computer and multiple users, so it is more convenient for everyone if he wasn't "hogging" the computer.

I don't know - if he had an Ipad or a tablet and could have laid in bed and read chapters of Ancient Civ or Bio, it probably would have been nice. They often annotate, too, though, so you really can't do that easily with a soft copy. I guess I'm slowly converting....  I never thought I'd say this, but I'd love a Kindle or Nook!

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-06-2010
Theresa, I thought the same thing because I love books, rhetoric way they feel in my hands and the way they smell. I git a Kindle two Christmases ago and I love the versatility, the number of books I can keep on it ( I can literally hand it over to any bored family member and say, okay , here's Little Women, here's Animal Farm, here's the great dog training manual I was talking about. And packing for holidays has become so much easier. Plus, and this was a biggie, the fact that many classics are free. DD, who is turning fourteen in two weeks, has asked for her own Kindle for her birthday.

DH has an iPad and although it is practical, quick and awesome for watching videos on YouTube, it gives him headaches when he uses it for reading.

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Registered: 12-06-2010
Uh, that should have been "the way". Darned spellcheck and tiny keyboard!
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-2005

Plus, and this was a biggie, the fact that many classics are free.

I bet dd19 would love this (Eng major, lol!). She downloaded many classics on her iPod, but that's a bit small to read. She will re-read her favorites over and over. My dad got a Kindle last Christmas and he does exactly what you're talking about. He moved to rural MN when he remarried and it's wonderful for him to be able to get daily newspapers and the latest books that their small library might not have.