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Today we’re talking tablets versus textbooks in the first of a series of blog posts inspired by cartoons. Does anyone have a good memory of their education textbooks?  Textbooks are cumbersome… anyone disagree?  Most textbooks are a bulky nuisance weighing down backpacks of elementary to high school students nationwide.   What I’m wondering is: why burden shoulders and backs with textbooks when the solution is already present in mobile education?  Cisco BYOD Solution for K12 Education transforms education allowing the freedom to go anywhere on campus with a mobile device and still perform the tasks you would on a wired network.  Here’re my two cents on why schools should consider making the switch away from textbooks.

1.       Textbooks can be injurious to your health.

Really. According to the California Department of Education, today’s textbooks are so heavy that they are actually causing injury.  An average of 13,000 students, aged 5 to 18, were treated for backpack-related injuries.  Students should only carry 15% of their body weight in their backpack, but we all know that a backpack full of textbooks would be much heavier even for elementary kids. Consider the alternative: The average tablet at 8 to 64 gigabytes can contain well over 5,000 textbooks; one tablet to replace the textbooks in a student’s backpack.

2.       Tablets take you beyond “walking fingers, providing features that simply cannot be matched by a textbook.  With a tablet, you can highlight or editing text and write notes straight onto the screen. These habits when used on a textbook are graffiti and permanent, but on a tablet it’s quick and easy to mark up or fix up notes on the text. No more eraser smudges!  Tablets also provide a search function for key bits of information, backlight screens for reading in dimly lit locations, and some with internet capabilities for additional research.  Aside from textbook content, the tablet can also hold homework, quizzes, and handouts, thus eliminating any need for physical classroom materials. This helps the school save paper and enables districts to become greener.

So with these amazing positives, what’s the holdup? For districts, costs,  security, and effective deployment are among the primary concerns. However, tablets are becoming increasingly affordable.* E-textbooks on tablets cost on average 50-60% less than print – a nice savings from the current K-12 school districts spend of more than $8 billion per year on textbooks alone.** This $8 billion on textbooks unfortunately quickly depreciates within a year, with highlights, markings, and overall wear and tear. Dare we do the math on the economics?

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Simple, secure, effective deployment is the thing of today with Cisco BYOD Solutions for K12 Education. Secure deployment options just right for small, medium, and large school districts supporting a varied set of requirement from basic pervasive wireless access to dynamic policy allocation based on role, location, and device.

To learn more about tablets in K-12 please visit the Cisco Communities Webinars page and watch the on-demand, 3-part K-12 Education webcast series. Also be sure to visit the Cisco BYOD Solutions for K12 Education page to see how different school districts are innovating and transforming their classrooms.


*Patrick Thibodeau of Computerworld

**Federal Communication Commission