Paper vs Electronic Textbooks

Pros and cons of the use of e-Textbooks in the classroom


I chose this topic because it is becoming a more prevalent question to teachers and is beginning to get some attention in the classroom. For one of my classes this year, the only option when purchasing the textbook was to get the electronic version.

What I Learned

There are many arguments on both side of the spectrum both for and against electronic textbooks. I found this in my own experience with the e-Text that I had for my class. I found that the hands-on activities and instructional videos were extremely helpful, but when it came to actually reading the text, it was much more challenging than a traditional textbook because it was harder to maneuver, I couldn't quickly flip through the pages, couldn't highlight, and had a really hard time reading it as well as I would be able to a normal paper textbook. There were many advantages, but they came with a hefty set of drawbacks.


Electronic textbooks can provide cost-savings in the long term and save students from having to buy expensive textbooks each year. They can also provide data that is easier to update and keep accurate. It saves students physically from having to carry around pounds of heavy textbooks. Also, it allows for more interactive learning.


Electronic textbooks require a higher initial investment cost than regular paper textbooks and don't save as much money as some think. Although the costs of printers and paper is eliminated, the cost of a tablet and software can be very expensive. It is also very difficult to make tablets compatible with paper textbooks because of formatting and software. They can have issues with reliability and operational problems. There are also health risks with students staring at electronic screens for extended amounts of time.


Some challenges that I faced with this project were the sources of my data. From my own experience with electronic textbooks, I was slightly biased on this topic. But I am not as technology savvy as some of the younger digital natives. Also, the data that I collected was from the internet, mostly written by older authors, and written about the cons of the e-Texts because it is a growing and evolving technology. I had to interview my brothers to get the opinions of some younger children who had hands-on experience with these types of books in the classroom and see what their opinions were on the issue.


The product of my research was a culmination of benefits and drawbacks with the revolutionizing and evolving technology. I was able to obtain a variety of opinions with different points on this topic.

Further Research

I feel that this research can and needs to be continued in the future as some of the "kinks" are worked out of this changing and constantly improving technology. In the future, research can continue to be gathered from a variety of sources which will help us to understand ways to improve and facilitate learning for future generations.