Lots of tech issues attached to e-textbook proposal

Key Points

  • New proposal for using e-textbook instead of physical books
  • Cost shall be on parents? Since not clear if government will be providing /subsidizing the devices.
  • Tablet or laptop?

PETALING JAYA: The proposal that students can choose e-textbooks instead of physical ones in the new school year brings with it a host of technology issues.

At this point, it is not clear if the government will be providing or subsidizing the devices, or if only select models will be allowed.

There are plenty of choices since the textbooks will be in the form of the ubiquitous PDF (Portable Document Format), a tech industry source said.

Two things have to be considered when selecting a device – screen and storage size. A larger screen makes it easier for students to view e-textbooks, but too large a screen can result in heavier and pricier devices, the source said.

When it comes to storage size, a minimum of 32 GB is recommended or at least a device that accepts memory cards so that more memory can be added later.

One of the cheapest options are tablets, which can be bought for as low as RM 500 and come with a seven-inch screen but only 16 GB storage. Tablets with 10-inch screens and larger storage will cost more than RM 1,000 each.

But if students are also required to input text, then a lightweight laptop or mini notebook is preferable. These usually have 11-inch screens and 32 GB storage, with most brands starting from RM 900.

A more expensive option would be two-in-one or hybrid notebooks, which are more versatile. These devices can be used as both tablets for viewing e-textbooks and as laptops when text input is needed.

Some devices even fold into a “tent” position so that e-textbooks can be read more comfortably. They come with faster processors and start from RM 2,500.

Source: The STAR Online


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