1. Review the Policies
Before you can even make the decision to use a tablet as opposed to a traditional book, you need to check the policies. This process likely involves looking at the school’s policy and the individual teacher’s syllabus. Some teachers do not allow electronic devices in the classroom at all, which precludes you from using a tablet. In this case, you will need to buy textbooks. Don’t try to circumvent the policy. Your teachers will clearly see that you are using a tablet as opposed to a textbook. When you are asked to put the tablet away, you will have simply wasted money on educational tools that you cannot use.
2. Consider Accessibility Accommodations
Of course, you must consider your individual learning needs. On your campus, you should find a center that helps students with disabilities procure the necessary accommodations. For example, you may have a disability that makes using a traditional textbook difficult. When you are required to use a traditional textbook, your learning experience may be hindered. In these cases, you can work with a representative at the disabilities services center so that you will have permission to use a tablet in class for the readings.
3. Evaluate Your Preferred Reading Experience
While a tablet might look sleek and chic in the classroom, you need to remember what the ultimate goal is here. You are not entering into a fashion competition; you are attending school in order to learn. Some people struggle to read on a tablet. You might find that the words are too small or that you don’t like how the tool feels in your hands. When you are uncomfortable reading on a tablet, you may neglect your assignments because you lack an eagerness to use the tool. On the other hand, you may prefer the ease of pulling up a book on the tablet and feel that a traditional text would interfere with your reading experience. Knowing how you best absorb material lets you decide how to procure your required readings.
4. Examine Your Note-taking
Reading is just one of the ways in which you engage with a text. When you are really interested in absorbing the text and enhancing your experience, you will take notes as you read. In the past, some protested the use of tablets because they could not take notes. Now, however, this process has changed. With the array of technological tools out there for education, you can certainly take notes on your tablet. Of course, another side exists to this issue as well. Some students prefer to take notes by hand with paper and pen because they feel as though they better absorb the material when they write in this manner. You may need to try out both approaches to determine which one is right for you.
5. The Cost
The decision to buy textbooks is one that could cost you a decent amount of money. Generally, textbook lists are available before the semester begins, so you could examine how much the books will cost you before classes are underway. Of course, a tablet is not cheap, but you do have to take into account that you can use the tablet for other purposes. For example, you could read both your books for school and your books for personal entertainment on the tablet. When you are checking out the cost of these two paths to education, remember to find out if your school offers any type of financial assistance.
6. Carrying Your Materials
One consideration that might hold a place only in the far corners of your mind is how you will transport the books to class. If you have a locker in a high school and plenty of time to grab your books between classes, this concern might not have as much prominence. However, if you are walking across a college campus with a huge backpack filled with books, you should have some concern for the physical strain that this action could place on your body. Think about how much walking with heavy books you will have to do. In the event that you are planning to carry a tablet from place to place, do keep in mind that you need to place it in a protective case.
7. Availability of Materials
If you love to use your tablet, you might think that you will only purchase those materials that are available through this device. Trying to get around course requirements is never a good idea. While you may think that you have the ability to do so, teachers are often able to tell when students are not fully completing the material. After all, they are experts in the discipline and can gauge what skills you should acquire from completing the necessary assignments. You must select the avenue that allows you to have the proper course materials.
In a world where technology plays a large role in education, you do have options when it comes to traditional books or reading experiences on a tablet. Taking these factors into account can help you decide which option to select.