As technology becomes more common in the classroom, many schools are beginning to issue laptops. Several schools have also done away with physical textbooks entirely. Some schools, however, argue that students learn better when using traditional, physical textbooks. Below, you’ll find information to help guide administrators and teachers while making the decision to use digital or physical textbooks. 

Digital Textbooks: Pros

One of the biggest complaints from parents is that the weight of textbooks is too heavy for their child to carry. Digital textbooks eliminate this issue because the textbooks are accessible on lightweight laptops. Additionally, digital textbooks are beneficial because they don’t use paper, making them eco-friendly.

Digital Textbooks: Cons

A problem arises when a wireless connection isn’t available, as the digital textbook is unavailable as well. While digital textbooks may be interactive, students don’t have a physical book to flip pages. Therefore, students have to scroll to read the information they need. Scrolling and looking at a screen strains eyes and can become a nuisance, especially if there is a glare. The biggest setback to using digital textbooks is that students can get distracted. Because digital textbooks are on the computer, students are tempted to visit other sites while studying. The increased time spent online may also make students more vulnerable to online risks, like cyberbullies and online predators.

Physical Textbooks: Pros

Many students grew up with physical textbooks. Therefore, they’ve created study habits unique to physical textbooks. A benefit of physical textbooks is that they’re accessible without a wireless connection. Also, they don’t require a power source. Physical textbooks are reusable year after year. On the other hand, many digital textbooks require schools to renew a subscription or repurchase the book every year.

Physical Textbooks: Cons

A drawback of physical textbooks is that they often contain outdated information. Teaches must remain vigilant and let students know what the updated information is. Studies have also shown that students prefer digital textbooks, but comprehend better through physical textbooks.


Text by Jonathan Mendoza


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