Do you need textbooks when you have the internet?

By Maryam Ali

The internet has brought about huge changes on our lives some are simply unthinkable for instance thanks to Wikipedia and the whole resource that is the web you can get information in a trice. In the olden days you would have to save up all of your pocket money and buy the encyclopaedia Britannica to keep up to date on your general knowledge.

Nowadays the internet is doing more than changing our lives it is somehow making us erase things we regarded as normal in the past like looking in a text book for answers to your homework instead of googling it. Do people still use textbooks or are textbooks a thing of the past?

Textbooks can be seen as tools they are only as good as the person using them. A violin in the hands of a violinist would play beautiful music. In the hands of someone else, the result may be broken strings and a migraine from the dreadful noise. The advantages of textbooks are that they still serve as a purpose by stimulating the mind by delivering complex subjects in a manageable digestible bite size chunk. Textbooks always seem to simplify and condense a story whether or not it’s an ageing technology a textbook still somehow overpowers a lot of what the internet could do for you.

It is the structure of a textbook that makes a subject seems so simplistic whereas if you were to research the web for an answer there is sometimes more than one answer. Although internet search engines are the best information retrieval systems available sometimes the World Wide Web soon becomes an endless spider’s web where all you really want is a simple yes or no answer to a question. You often find yourself having to condense down everything you have researched on the internet.

The internet is a ground breaking phenomenon we have become avid users of it. Arguably if the internet was taken away from you for a day you would continuously complain of how your world has come crashing down and how it has come to a complete standstill. Would you be caught saying the same about a textbook? Has the textbook really become a dying tool?

Although the textbook is still available the internet has allowed the interchange of ideas and materials among scientists, university professors and students it has provided servers, resource centres and online tools for their research and scholar activities. Millions of books, journals and other materials are available and can be accessed through the internet because of the digitisation of public domains material from libraries. Who knows what the future may hold, we can even order our groceries online is it time that we demolished textbooks, address books and other traditional tools and stuck to the internet for everything.

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