The world has become smaller, figuratively speaking, as telephones, cellular phones, and the Internet has invaded most households, leading to swifter ways of learning, progress, and development. Teachers have now been assisted if not replaced by computers instructing students; for example, computer-assisted instruction (CAI) is now running in many academic institutions; electronic books have now replaced physical textbooks; and higher learning institutions have grown nearer to students through online universities.
In academia, the aid textbooks extend to both teachers and students is indisputable beyond question. Since time immemorial, every subject area was able to get its share among learners through useful textbooks from different publishing houses. Many teachers across the globe could not imagine doing their lessons and teaching their students without any reference (Mckenzie, 1997). A teacher is not a hub of all the concepts there is in a certain subject area. Although not dependent throughout the semester or school year on textbooks, both teachers and students use a subject guide in a textbook, as it provides ample exercises apart from its lessons (Richardson, 2014).
Talking about reliability and credibility, a textbook cannot be out in the market without going through a thorough academic and scholarly process. This means its trustworthiness as a source of lessons is certain. In addition, not all students, especially in rural schools, can afford to replace textbooks with technologies like laptops, etc.
Nevertheless, the modifications the technological age brought to ways of learning have posed a big question on the usefulness of textbooks. Affluent students in different schools here and abroad have provided themselves with laptops, if not required by their teachers. With a laptop, a student can listen and encode notes in class, do assignments, share notes, and work with classmates on tasks. Moreover, laptops allows them to view films and documentaries, and download music and video clips. This makes learning more fast-paced and accessible.
Both these educational resources that provide assistance have their pros and cons. Textbooks are reliable, but they must be updated and/or replaced through the course of time, as concepts change and new educational progressions arise. Laptops, meanwhile, may be tempting to use as they provide a wide array of informational sources and may come in handy; but one must realize they are expensive, may pose distractions to the learner, and may even provide unreliable information.
Even so, the student can still employ different learning strategies that are defined as steps taken by students to improve their own learning. These specific actions are taken by learners to make learning more convenient, more enjoyable, more self-directed, more effective, and more transferable to new situations.
Each person has his or her own individual way of gathering and processing information. One is also inclined to solve problems in his or her everyday life. These personal cognitive abilities acquired in the course of a long socialization process are called “learning styles” (Reynolds, 1997). Professor Richard Riding (2005) assured students are not all the same. Each learner has individual differences influencing both their learning and their academic achievements.
The knowledge of one’s learning style can lead to enhanced learning and can help the learner focus on improving weaker points. Learning style analysis is also useful in informing the teaching and learning process, which can be used as a tool to enhance achievement and inclusion (DFES, 2004; Rose & Nicholl, 1997). Because textbooks and laptops are beneficial in a myriad ways, it could be better for any academic institution to integrate their use, and encourage and enlighten students as to their limitations.
Reynolds, M. (1997). Learning Styles: A Critique. Management Learning, 28, 115–133.
Retrieved from: http://www.auburn.edu/~witteje/ilsrj/Journal%20Volumes/Spring%202012%20Vol%201%20PDFs/Cross%20Cultural.pdf on: December 28, 2012
Riding R. (2005). Individual Differences and Educational Performance. Educational
Psychology, 25(6), 659–72.
Rose, C. & Nicholl, M. J. (1997). Accelerated Learning for the 21st Century: The Six-Step Plan to Unlock your Master-Mind. USA: Dell.
Mckenzie, J. (1997). In Defense of Textbooks, Lectures and Other Aging Technologies. FNO, vol.6, No. 8, May.
Richardson, H. Schools Need textbooks Not Worksheets, Says Minister. 20, November, 2014. BBC.com. Retrived at: http://www.bbc.com/news/education-30129639
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