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Should e-books be used from now on? 2016.10.07
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Joyce:  Electronic devices are now a necessity even for primary school students. Parents have to fork out up to HK$4,000 on tablet computers for their children in the name of e-book education. This is ridiculous!

Andrew: Why is it ridiculous? Don’t you remember parents moaning about heavy schoolbags? They agreed to switch from traditional textbooks to e-books. Now the same people are complaining about the cost of a tablet computer! Who is being ridiculous?

Joyce: I was never an e-book advocate. Children today are still carrying heavy schoolbags. It is misleading to say that e-books will mean lighter schoolbags.  The answer is how textbooks are used.

Andrew: E-books make schoolbags lighter. They also have many advantages as a teaching medium. In chemistry, for instance, students can see the chemical structure, namely the ball and stick model, in threedimension mode.Publishers can also ‘update’ e-books so students don’t have to buy new editions.

Joyce: There is a misconception here. Does ‘interactive’ or ‘advanced’ teaching lead to better results? The answer is no. The number of students who get  straight As or 5** in the DSE [Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education] is about the same very year. So are e-books better than textbooks? I think not!

Andrew: Let me put it this way; people choose e-books because they are fun. Textbooks are boring and old. It really is that simple. It will be ridiculous if  students don’t switch to new technology in school! And come on, almost every household in Hong Kong has a computer. And there are NGOs [non-governmental  organisations] ready to provide one to needy students.

Key arguments(Joyce)

1. There is no direct correlation between exam results and e-book learning.
2. Students still carry super-heavy schoolbags.

Key arguments(Andrew)

1. E-books provide interactive learning elements.
2. Getting familiar with technology is a crucial part of education.

Glossary

Non-governmental organisation 非政府機關
Tablet computer 平板電腦
Information technology 資訊科技
Internet service 互聯網服務
Hardware 硬件
Learning tool 學習工具

Did you know?

WebOrganic is a local NGO set up to provide underprivileged students with internet access and computers. The group has worked with more than 40 organisations  in the public sector including other NGOs, as well as schools and government departments to provide services for needy students.

The charity organisation believes that access to information technology is crucial to education. Apart from sponsoring families to afford lowpriced internet services and cheap hardware, the group also trains parents and students to use the internet.

Questions

1. Do you agree with Joyce? Or is Andrew correct?
2. What are the advantages of using e-books?
3. What are the advantages of using textbooks?
4. Why are students who use e-books not achieving better results?

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