The struggle of heavy backpacks may be reduced with the implementation of online textbooks


Melina Kritikopoulos

The convenience of online textbooks will keep students prepared.

Four AP courses mean four heavy textbooks to lug back and forth from home to school five days a week. Students with substantial course loads, like senior Vivian Tran, who is taking AP Psychology, AP Government, AP Statistics and AP Biology, experience this everyday. With new technology, however, the struggle may be alleviated.

SCHS has begun to implement digital elements for many courses.

“Whether it’s an actual online textbook or it’s ancillary materials that go with the textbook, there should be some sort of online component,” librarian Seana Shelby said.

Some students, like senior Ihuoma Otah, have been appreciative and receptive of this change. According to Otah, the digital versions accommodate all her classes, lightening her load.

Sophomore Stephanie Kuh agrees. “I don’t have to carry those heavy textbooks along with the other millions of things I carry,” Kuh said.

In addition to eliminating extra weight, the online version is convenient. Tran said being able to access her textbooks whenever needed is very beneficial.

“I often study at outside places, such as the library and coffee shops, and it is such a hassle to bring my textbooks everywhere with me,” Tran said.

Sophomore Bilal Adam Malik recognizes the advantage of convenience, by having his digital copy, he should never be unprepared for class.

“Since it’s in your Chromebook, you have it at all times. You can easily access it any time,” Malik said.

Other benefits of the digital version include features that would not be possible with a physical copy. In some online textbooks, glossaries and dictionaries available. Clicking on a word can enhance the learning experience, said AP Government teacher Karen Henry. Translations and audio-recordings are also accessible.

According to Henry, textbooks have set dates to be renewed. The history department had their renewal over 10 years ago. Back then, the technology was unable to accomodate an online textbook. This year, the department was set to receive new textbooks, and since online versions are possible, the district purchased them.

“It [the cost] depends on the textbook and it depends on the publisher,” Shelby said. “All the new textbooks that we’re getting are anywhere from $150-$200.”

A possible disadvantage for teachers may be the added difficulty of another grading platform. The platform Pearson uses has the option to create and grade assignments. If teachers grade in Google Classroom and Pearson, those grades will still have to be transferred to School Loop.

“When we grade in Classroom, we have to put it into School Loop,” Henry said. “So now having a third platform is potentially a challenge.”

The advantages, however, outweigh the cost as many members of SCHS have responded well to the new online textbook.

“Online textbooks have been such a benefit and relief to my senior year,” Tran said. “With classes that require heavy note-taking, an easy access to textbooks with my laptop has aided me so much.”