See article here: This school is trashing all its textbooks
Courtesy, New York Post
Apparently there is a school in New York City which is embracing a brave new world, one which I’m not sure I would want to embrace myself. To quote the New York Post:
In a scene out of “Fahrenheit 451,” administrators at Life Sciences Secondary School have ordered all textbooks rounded up and removed — calling them “antiquated,” sources say.
Principal Kim Swanson and Assistant Principal Derek Premo, who launched the ban, “really frown upon the use of books,” an insider told The Post.
I’m all about tech. Really, I am. I do not own a phone book. I literally throw them away the moment they arrive at my house. They are more trouble than they are worth. My television is piped in over the internet, mostly through Netflix. My watch, phone, and laptop all talk to each other. Ironically enough, I own and use a kindle. I, like many others my age and younger, exist in a digital world.
And yet, there is something about physical books that is important that I think we shouldn’t be willing to lose. Aside from the question of staring at an iPad screen for hours on end (this is obviously negated with e-ink screens, such a those on a kindle), there are questions of content which hasn’t been digitized, browsing methods (you cant stroll through digital stacks nearly as easily as you can a physical library), preservation of the material (which is really a toss up, given that there are pros and cons both ways), and availability of the text.
In this particular situation, it seems that there was some poor planning.
While the administrators tout “modern technology” over books, they have failed to provide the necessary equipment, the staffer said.
“Most classrooms have only two computers, and not all are hooked up to the Internet. Our hands are tied, and not having books has not helped the cause.”
You can’t take the books away and replace them with hopes for a modern world. It’s a huge disservice to the children and the families of those children. That said, there is apparently disagreement about the actual execution of this changeover.
Principal Swanson did not return messages. Department of Education spokesman Michael Aciman said the chucked volumes were “outdated and no longer aligned to the school’s current curriculum or New York State Learning Standards,” adding that students “have access to current, updated” books.
A school staffer called the DOE’s statement “a blatant lie.”
Ultimately, I think probably the best way for schools and libraries to approach this is not to fully embrace the e-reader/tablet wave (ebook sales are falling, after all) nor to throw the books out. Can’t you have both? Sometimes an ebook is better and sometimes a physical book is more appropriate. Why make it an either/or situation?