Students take advantage of technology in classroom

Textbooks, notebooks, pens and pencils are common items in most college classrooms. But some students are forgoing these bulky items for something lighter and perhaps cheaper: iPads, tablets and e-readers.

Sophomore Conor Mogg has an iPad, and said he considers note taking to be the best part of the device.

“I have terrible handwriting, and so the easy typing makes my notes much more legible,” he said.

Tablet and iPad microphones can also facilitate note taking.

One advantage e-books have over traditional textbooks is a lower price. Websites such as Chegg and Amazon offer e-books to students at significantly lower prices. The sites sometimes rent out the e-books at half the price of a new textbook.

With e-books stored in one place, students can access materials anywhere at any time. This also makes for less weight to carry around.

Disadvantages come with e-book usage, however, which is why Mogg has stayed away from buying them.

“Regular books are easier to function,” Mogg said. “I prefer going from page to page with the actual book [rather] than searching the entire e-book for a specific word.”

Tablet experiments have been conducted in schools across the nation to see if students actually benefit.

Cleveland-area English teacher James Harmon found the students to be more engaged and excited about learning through various applications, as compared to those who did not use a tablet.

In a University of Notre Dame study, a professor loaned iPads to students for seven weeks, thinking they would be used mainly as e-readers.

But most students used the iPad for more than that, including brainstorming, collaborating and communicating.

The devices have presented few issues at Youngstown State University.

Most workers at the YSU Tech Desk said hardly any devices have been brought in for maintenance, with the most common problem being Internet connectivity.

YSU students wishing to try out a device can do so through Maag Library’s lending program. Students are allowed to check out Kindles and iPads for three days. To get the devices, students must sign an electronic device agreement.

Still, many students prefer to purchase their own, especially since tablet and iPad prices have been steadily decreasing.

Industry officials estimate that within the next five to 10 years, Kindles and iPads will soon be erasing the pencil marks made on the ruled paper and replacing them with virtual text.