Terminator Nixs Text Books

California Governor takes next logical step in education

A story out of the US has Californian Governor and former actor Arnold Schwarzenegger looking to do away with text books.

In a cost-cutting measure that could save the cash-strapped state hundreds of millions of dollars, Schwarzenegger has mooted the idea that with most kids attuned to the likes of Facebook and Twitter, then taking that technology a step further by phasing out text books in favour of a electronic equivalent is a natural progression.

Schwarzenegger wondered aloud why we are still using 15th century technology (printing based on the Gutenberg Press), in a world where most households have at least one computer and a range of other portable devices.

There are tangible benefits to taking on the idea, and not just to help kids learn. As well as getting instant updates on a subject and having information literally at your fingertips, there is no longer a need to go to libraries to study, or to lug around heavy text books, and think of the number of trees that might be saved, which would make the Greenies happy.

There are a couple of downsides though. Text books tend to be pretty comprehensive, whereas a lot of online content can sometimes seem to be of the once-over-lightly variety. And if you were to make a comprehensive textbook available online, it might cause navigation for those who are not tech savvy, especially with indexes and appendices and the like, whereas a text book is pretty straight forward.

The other big issue would be peripheral people who work in the printing and forestry trades, who would lose a huge source of income.