Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Banning Books in School is Ridiculous

Let's pretend that after the invention of the light bulb, a decree was made banning the use of candles. After all, light bulbs are safer, more effective, and easier to manage. There would be no need for candles anymore.

But what about the people who couldn't afford electricity? Instead of being illuminated by this new technology, they would instead be cast into darkness. And what about the puppy-love couple looking for a romantic dinner? A softly humming light bulb swaying above the table just wouldn't be the same. And let's not even get into how much of a catastrophe birthday cakes would become.

Banning candles with the advent of the light bulb never happened, because it is a ridiculous idea. No one would possibly want to ban something when it still had so many useful purposes, right?

Then why is there a conversation on Computerworld.com about banning printed books from schools in lieu of ebooks and electronic readers?

Mike Elgan writes:
So that's my proposal: Ban all paper textbooks and go electronic. Students could choose to read on PCs, phones or Kindle-like readers. If students don't have some kind of reader, libraries and computer labs do. (Direct Link)

This is a dangerous idea. Anyone who uses a Kindle or regularly reads ebooks on a computer knows that it's a completely different feel from holding and reading a physical book. If we were to mandate electronic literature, students would have to adapt and I suspect that would bring about the end of independent reading beyond the classroom. If kids don't have access to e-readers at home and fall out of practice reading paper books, then all reading outside of of class is going to end.

I'd rather be enjoying the futility of a candle than be sitting in darkness.
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3 Responses:

R.C. Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bryce said...

At $200 a crack, not very many textbooks would have to not be bought to cover the cost of an inexpensive computer or Kindle- like device.
Then there is the ridiculous bulk of textbooks to be carried around...
The largest problem however is the textbook lobby, not the books themselves. I say burn 'em!
-Bryce, student

Caitlin said...

I'm okay with libraries augmenting their collections with Kindles but why eliminate their book collections? Becoming captive to the offerings of amazon.com is a frightening thing. There are many titles that Kindle does not offer.