Save students, trees: issue laptops, not books

Stephanie Wallace, Staff Reporter

The feeling of early onset arthritis is too real to ignore. From the time students put their backpacks on in the morning to the time they take them off when they get home, their shoulders are crying out for mercy.
Not only have textbooks gotten thicker as new information is being added over the years, but the AP Government and Civics book dates back to 2008 and doesn’t even have Barack Obama on its list of presidents. It is just now getting an update in 2019, and the Journalism book hasn’t been updated since 2001.
The primary source of storage for these outdated books is backpacks, causing tons of weight to be loaded onto students’ shoulders. Sure, lockers are available, but when a classroom is all the way on the opposite side of the building, getting to a locker and still making it to class is a balancing act.
If only there was a way to help the poor students of the Plainfield Central community. Oh wait, there is: issuing students a laptop.
According to AP Government Civics teacher John Smith, online books are slowly becoming unavailable. The subscription for the government books has ended and now results in teachers having to keep only a class set. Meaning that in-book assignments or even reading to study is no longer an option. This causes an inconvenience for both teachers and students.
The district isn’t completely ignoring the obvious need to update; however Superintendent Lane Abrell wrote in a column that for the 2018-2019 school year, four teachers for each high school would be holding a classroom set of laptops and students will check them out every day and check then back in at the end of class.
Though this is a creative solution, the problem comes with time consumption. Having to check and log into a computer takes at least 5 minutes and then having to repeat the process at the end of class creates a tedious task and wastes approximately one class period each week just getting them out and putting them away according to Smith.
So why doesn’t the district simply switch to one to one laptops? According to Abrell, implementing individual laptops will not necessarily improve teaching and learning, and the associated costs prohibit the district from quickly updating itself to the level of smaller surrounding districts. However, there are multiple schools, such as Willow Brooke High School, that already include a tablet or laptop in the student fees during registration, which takes the financial burden off the school.
Laptops would mean no more hours of being hunched over under a heavy backpack. Every book would just be one icon away, so no more forgetting a book in a locker or even worse, at home. No more walks of shame into a previous class room to retreive a book while the teacher is instructing their next class. Updated versions would be just a click away instead of 10 years away.
Not only would weight no longer be an issue, but the environment would also surely be grateful. I may not be the Lorax, but I feel the need to speak for the trees. Over 30 million books are cut down for a year’s worth of textbooks, producing over two billion books according to “Green Press Initiative.” 30 million trees. In relation, there are only 26 thousand trees in Central Park, meaning that about nine central parks make up our textbooks every year.
Tablets and laptops are where the world is headed, and this campus needs to catch up before we are left behind. Well Central, it’s time to finally install that update.