CON: Tablets Aren’t Reliable

Prowl photo by Thrisha Reddy

Prowl photo by Thrisha Reddy

Manuel Carlos, Opinion Writer

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By Manuel Carlos

A heated battle of intellect takes place in the classroom.

It’s every student (in a class of 32) for themselves. The timer reaches zero. And the thought-provoking music of Kahoot ends. There is mass hysteria in the classroom, panic, frantic pressing and tapping on our electronic screens of our tablets, as some students desperately yearn to earn extra credit to pass their class. Some students need an “A+” because of the terror of coming home with anything else. Or some are simply driven, while others just want bragging rights.

Chances are you’ve been one of those three students. Put yourself in their position: that drive and desire to win, when suddenly, your tablet fails you. Again.

Oh no! You frantically hurry to tap the screen incessantly for a reaction, but nothing happens, the computer has crashed, along with that dream (granted, probably minor dream) of getting first place in Kahoot.

Just so we’re clear, I hate these tablets. Tablets are unreliable, inefficient, and prone to falling apart at the earliest inconvenience.

Proponents of those saying they want these school tablets argue that tablets can carry the information of hundreds of textbooks, and weigh less than one. But what good does that do to the students when the class either a) rarely uses a book or b) rarely interacts with the provided technology. These scenarios of which, I find to occur often.

During my elementary, middle school, junior high, freshman and sophomore years, I carried a lot, and I mean a LOT of weight in my backpack (of which in term would go on my back). I found some adults would struggle to move it with one arm, but I “carried” (excuse the pun) on. And not to brag or anything, but I would much rather carry these books and have reliable information than have a tablet that will fail me at any given moment, potentially endangering my academic future by failing to provide me any valuable notes I may have recorded, or the actual textbook materials to provide to us. And we could, you know, use some lockers…but I digress.

Tablets are essentially books and notebooks that could disappear at any given moment, prone to being hacked, crashed, or destroyed in a single moment. Even though in my experiences (and that of many other students) I have found these tablets to be vigorously incompetent, they also are extremely costly. “Implementation costs for e-textbooks on iPad tablets are 552% higher than new print textbooks in an average high school” according to the research Web site ProCon.org.

As you can imagine, some circuitry, despite its quality, is worth more than some higher-end printer paper, and thus these tablets are far more likely to be the attraction of theft than textbooks, creating yet another possibility of failure.

Unlike the sudden occurrence of a failing tablet, it takes hours, days, weeks, possibly even months for a tablet to be replaced, and what is the student to do in a class that heavily depends on it? Sitting and waiting for a tablet just doesn’t sound like the best thing to do. I’ve had my tablet fully replaced once, my monitor separately once, and my keyboard separately once. That was no fun. The inconvenience was just far too ridiculous for one to ignore, especially since I still have plenty of issues with the tablets through time (though not like the ones that rendered it unusable and required me to seek replacement as soon as possible.).

I could say far more but there are simply too many issues for this to be just mentioned here.

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