Welcome to Rye Country Day's Economic Blog. Here you will find perspectives by students taking Economics at Rye Country Day School. It is meant to be a forum where students can openly express their ideas and take positions on relevant economic issues. I urge everyone to participate in presenting their own ideas in an open manner so that we can all learn from each other. Regardless of whether you are currently taking Economics, everyone is invited and encouraged to comment on articles and get involved. Feel free to e-mail me, Alex Osborne at alexander_osborne@rcds.rye.ny.us , with comments or suggestions.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Featured Entry - The Burden of Textbooks

Textbooks seem to have fallen behind in our fast paced world of technological development. Living in a wireless world, we still find ourselves lugging around 5 pound textbooks to each class. Not only are they extremely expensive but publishers come out with "new editions" every year where it seems as the only difference is an updated cover and we must buy this new edition to be "on the same page" as everyone else. So, how can we fix this problem? RCDS is blessed with having a laptop program starting in 7th grade, yet, we still do not take advantage of this program. Virtual textbooks would solve this problem. Instead of going through a middleman manufacturer who needs to assemble the book, you would be, in essence, buying directly from the author(s). There is an incentive for everyone here; the author(s) is now selling his product directly to the consumer and his/her profit margin will now be huge. The incentive for students is obvious; no more carrying around heavy backpacks. Another advantage of this method, is when the author "updates" his textbook all he would need to do is edit the textbook and repost it or resend it to his buyers. Lastly, with a virtual textbook the possibilites are endless. With websites like Youtube and Webshots, you could now have more interactive excercises in the textbook such as games or videos that would involve the student more. In conclusion, the benefits here are tremendous and besides having less work for the manufacturer, there seem to be almost no downside. Making textbooks a click away would truly change the environment of school and make it more enjoyable.

-Alex Osborne

1 comment:

Sam said...

Whether in a computer lab or plopped in front of our lockers with laptops in hand, a world of education is at our fingertips. With the use of the Internet, students can connect instantly with their classmates, teachers, and school. Instead of having to run between multiple libraries, we have access to an infinite card catalog, all behind one screen. Further, with the help of programs such as First Class, the internet helps students contact teachers or fellow classmates instantly. Technology makes normal school jobs easier and faster, allowing us to focus more on our actual education.
If technology is there to teach, why should we let ourselves be weighted down by mammoth textbooks? Rye Country Day School should transition to digital textbooks: not only would this immensely help the environment, by saving millions of trees each year, but it would also be easier on the backs of Rye Country Day students. The weight of a student’s backpack ranges from ten to twenty pounds. Many chiropractors believe that backpacks cause students to “lean forward, reducing balance and making it easier to fall, distort the natural curves in the middle and lower backs, causing muscle strain and irritation to the spine joints and the rib cage, and cause rounding of the shoulders” (http://www.Spine-Health.com). When asked about the effects of backpacks, one student said, “Besides the fact that the cost of textbooks is exorbitant, many of our literature books can just be typed on to google and read free. If we can do this for some cases, we should give online access for all of our textbooks.” Digital textbooks are cheaper, more efficient, environment-friendly, and physically, less strenuous. Our school already requires students to have laptops so this next step in improving students’ quality of education would be parsimonious. Students should learn from their textbooks, not ache from them.