My husband, a teacher and school principal, have talked about the issue of traditional books vs. ebooks several times in the past year. The big movement in our country is pushing technology into the schools and in the classrooms (and rightfully so) but the big debate has always been how much technology is TOO much. Some schools have replaced traditional classroom teaching time with Twitter feed interactions. Many schools are now choosing to go without textbooks. Companies are even creating iPad cases for babies and toddlers, and now the new controversy is the iPad holder that attaches to potty seats for potty training! Will we soon have an app that teachers babies how to crawl? In my opinion there is a fine line on when and how much technology to use with kids and with possibly no true right or wrong answer. You cannot draw a definitive line and say this is the only way to use it.
Our current generation, MY kids generation, is growing up with more technology than I did as a kid, and I’m still in my 20’s! I remember having an old Apple box computer, a “cell” phone contraption welded into our vehicle, and being terrified even AFTER college 8 years ago to buy a digital camera because I was afraid it would lose my pictures. Remember when pagers were the big thing? I’m not talking 30 or 40 years ago – I’m talking less than 10 years ago! Now doctors are creating robotic arms to move just by reading your thoughts and kids are hacking FBI and CIA websites – it’s just something I would have never dreamed of growing up. But something else I never dreamed of as a kid was the enormous rate of disabilities, autistic kids, learning disabled kids, and other things that seemed at a minimum rate growing up. Nor did I imagine how technology could be mobilized either.
I found an interesting report from Scholastic this week addressing the issue of traditional books vs. ebooks. Certainly not a new debate but one that is becoming more readily accept. Being “older” than the ebook technology I prefer to have a real book in my hands, but I have found that I have MORE opportunity to read and easier access to books by using my e-reader. I don’t have to worry about trips to the library, overdue fees, or catching a ride to the library. Scholastic reports show that half of parents say their kids don’t spend enough time reading AND that children who read ebooks still also read print books. Choosing to read ebooks does not mean you are making traditional books obsolete – I simply look at it as another convenient option. Here are a few facts from their reports:
- The percent of children who have read an ebook has almost doubled since 2010 (25% vs. 46%).
- Half of children age 9-17 say they would read more books for fun if they had greater access to ebooks – a 50% increase since 2010.
- Overall, about half of parents (49%) feel their children do not spend enough time reading books for fun – an increase from 2010 when 36% of parents were dissatisfied with time their child spent reading.
- Seventy-two percent of parents show an interest in having their child read ebooks.