Get a weight off your back

At Jefferson, students dread anchor days. Not because of the extra work, or having all of their classes in one day. We hate the infamous anchor day backpacks.

However, there is a solution to the textbook problem. Apple Inc. announced in January that they would be selling textbooks through the new iBooks 2.The Obama administration backed the digital textbooks and encouraged schools to implement them just two weeks after Apple’s announcement.

Many institutions, both college and high school, are switching to digital textbooks. A study done by Next is Now projects that 44 percent of theUnited States textbook market will be digital by 2017. Bowker conducted a survey stating that the United States, along with the United Kingdom, India and Australia, is one of the leading countries when it comes to digital textbook markets.

Students are forced to lug textbooks from seven different classes around all day. But ifJeffersonclasses were to use digital textbooks instead of the enormous print rocks we use now, some of the back pain might be alleviated.

If Jefferson were to make the conversion, information required for our extensive research programs would be more accessible. Using textbooks on the iPad would make it incredibly easy to go back and forth between Safari, the Internet browser on Apple products, and the textbook making it easier to access the incredible amounts of information available.

Many textbooks today use out-dated information; digital textbooks could be updated without the school being forced to re-purchase a class set. The iBook textbooks are more interactive as well; they contain videos to accompany the material and programs that allow for teachers to create a curriculum.

The cutting-edge technology of online textbook could be an excellent fit for some classes at Jefferson. The books are much cheaper on iBooks, and students can also purchase books they need for their classes.

There are, however, a few drawbacks. The first and probably the most significant is the initial cost. The new iPad 3 is starting at $499.  The school would either have to purchase all of the iPads for the students and have class sets, or students would be required to buy one. The cost is overwhelming for such fragile devices.

There are other limitations as well. Some studies suggest a reduction in comprehension of digital books instead of print ones, and for less responsible students, iPads would offer the temptation of easy distraction from schoolwork.

Many districts have looked past these problems to the long-term solutions. States that have started the conversion to digital textbooks here in the United States include Florida, Utah, Idaho and California. What if Virginia was one of them?