Books lose by volumes next to gadgets


John Flanegin

Students prefer technology to paper books for research, studying
Step into just about any room at school and there will be at least three or four iPhones sitting on desks, buzzing and catching the eyes of those who placed them there. Novels and textbooks seem to hide within backpacks and are on the path to extinction for many students, with the ever-popular Media Center often harboring clusters of texters, while untouched books litter the shelves.
Isaac Lage is in his second year at RBHS and has yet to check out one of the bevy of books in the Media Center for fun.
“Even though I like reading, I feel like I don’t have enough time to read a book for fun,” Lage said. “[I don’t have time] because of my amount of homework and having wrestling practice right after school.”
Lage’s lack of reading seems to reflect upon much of the nation, with only 45 percent of 17 year olds admitting that they read by choice once or twice a year, according to Common Sense Media and A new Pew Internet Project report reveals 93 percent of teenagers ages 12-17 use the internet regularly, whether it be to check up on social media, play games or help complete school work. In 2013 Pew also discovered 78 percent of teens, age 12-17, have cell phones with nearly half of them being smart phones.
Junior Clayton Warder is in the minority without a phone. Because of this, Warder has always dealt with limits on technology and believes it has forced him to be a better student.“My parents make me put my technology away at certain times,” Warder said. “This includes whenever they say and at nine every night. They also keep our Wi-Fi on a switch so they can turn it off when they want.”
With one in four teenagers using cell phones as his or her sole internet source, it’s clear technology has not only taken over as a student’s go-to textbook, but is also trying to eradicate both the hardcover and paperback book as e-readers such as the Kindle and iPad take over the market. Luckily, both teenagers and adults alike who enjoy the feeling of a well worn book between their palms have fought back against the attacks.
“Since I’ve gotten an iPod and an iPad I’ve read less, but this could also be attributed to the increase in school work,” Warder said. “However, I still read and make time for it because I still love it. I’d say I read about an hour or hour and a half a day.”
Gretchen Cleppe, an advanced placement U.S. history teacher, has been quick to allow technology to enter her classroom and requires her students to have a digital copy of the class textbook on the district ordered iPads.
“I think technology has a great potential to help us to tap into and take things further as well as make things relevant,” Cleppe said. “Especially [with] history, sometimes we struggle to make things relevant. I think there’s great potential in that, but at the same time, we need to collaborate and learn how to put down the device and talk to one another.”
Many AP students believe the introduction of iPads helps by offering quick access to information in class and a valuable resource while doing homework and studying, believing it helps rather than hurts their classroom experience.
Warder views technology as a beneficial aid to learning and said it has become an integral part of his daily routine, but believes his iPad can often have its flaws. He noted that technology often becomes a hindrance when in classes that do not strictly enforce limits on its use.
“I would say that it helps in certain classes like history and foreign language for its quick Google searches and translations,” Warder said. “Everywhere else, it just provides a distraction.”
Lage sees flaws not just with technology in class, but also within the whole of the school, believing crowds of students meeting and using their phones in the Media Center during their AUTs or advisories can make it hard to concentrate on homework and projects, leaving it with little purpose for those wishing to find silence.
“I view [the Media Center] as more or less a “Social Center” because it’s always pretty loud in there.” Lage said. “[It] makes it difficult to do homework that isn’t computer based.”
By John Flanegin
Does technology have any benefits over printed books? Should teachers support one medium over another? Leave your comments below.