Blog General Singapore Education News Technology in the Classroom: Print Vs. Digital Textbooks

Technology in the Classroom: Print Vs. Digital Textbooks

Since its introduction and studies that reflect its benefits, schools across the globe have invested thousands of dollars or more to have their classrooms technology-friendly to make learning more interesting than traditional methods.

Singapore is no exception to this fact because of almost all of its educational facilities – from schools to tuition schools – utilize technology in their classrooms to enable better collaboration and performance.

Singapore schools and tuition first started to bring in desktop computers before they moved to use tablets for some of their lessons. They even invested in special apps which can be used to help students share and collaborate with one another, and for teachers to check the work more efficiently. Tutors can use digital videos and apps to prepare students for their advanced classes.

However, when it comes to textbooks, teachers and tutors alike are divided. Some believe that digital textbooks are the way to go because it is easier to carry and can be brought anywhere. Others believe traditional print books are better because they are easier to read and focus on.

What exactly are the benefits of print and digital books?

Benefits of Print

1. For teachers and tutors, they do not have to be trained to select appropriate digital content when it comes to the books their students should look into when they use print books. Before the development of digital textbooks, there is already a list of known academic publishers who produce high-quality books for education and teachers can simply check the list for their references. Digital textbooks are still in development and not all teachers are proficient in checking digital content.

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2. Even if digital books are easier to read, studies show that students don’t necessarily understand the content since they do not focus on the content itself. By comparison, students get to focus more on print books and understand what it is.

3. It is easier to share a print book than a digital book. You can simply visit the library, borrow a book, and then return it. Digital book sharing is still in its developmental stages so it is not really easy to share them.

4. When you read a print book, you do not have to worry about the screen glaring at you when it hits the light. Since it is printed, you can read it anywhere in almost any lighting condition. While Amazon’s Kindle can work as well as a print book, other devices do not have this same feature.

5. When you have a print book, you do not need to purchase your own Proprietary Program to read the book. In digital books, you have to own the right program to read the E-book file. If you have a Kindle e-book file, you can’t read it in Apple’s iBooks app.

6. Just like regular computer apps, e-book files can get lost or corrupted by viruses and other computer glitches. Some e-book files are also loaned temporarily to students so should the website close down, the book would no longer be available for reading. While print books can get lost as well, it would be easy to find them again.

7. If you have a print book, it doesn’t require electricity or internet to get going. You can read for as long as you want and you can simply mark where you are with a bookmark when you need to take a break. By comparison, when you use a digital book, it can run out of power the longer it is left on and you need to find the page you were in if you failed to bookmark it.

8. You do not have to worry about distractions when it comes to print books because it will only ask you to do one thing: read. When you use a digital book, you can simply close the reading app and use another app and that is distracting.

Benefits of Digital

1. As compared to the print book which is heavy and thick, digital e-books are easier to carry. You only have to bring the tablet and you are ready to go. It is only a thin device so it is lighter to carry and can fit anywhere in your bag.

2. Digital books are easier to annotate as compared to regular books since they can be erased without damaging the book entirely. You can even erase the annotation when you are finished with the year so you can read without marks on the book.

3. Parents often select digital books because their kids like it better and it is more exciting to read.

4. Digital books are also interactive, enabling children to see more about what they are reading since some e-books come with pictures and audio to make their reading more interesting.

5. Digital books are cheaper as compared to print books which are around $20-$200 a piece depending on the title and page count. E-books can start around $5 to $100 depending on the subject.

6. Print books tend to release regular updates depending on their subject, like world history and current events. When this happens, you will have to purchase a new book to see this information. For digital books, users simply have to update it through the app without having to purchase another book to see the updated content.

7. Digital books can adapt to students who cannot read books easily as the app can be modified to have larger fonts and colors to catch their eyes better.

8. For difficult works, digital books can make it easy to make notes or look into descriptions since you can simply press the word you are having problems and copy them before pasting it into a dictionary or notes app.

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9. Digital books can easily be modified based on the reader’s age group or preference. As a result, students can check new titles appropriate for their ages.

10. For teachers, digital books provide plenty of digital material which would make their lessons more up-to-date. In print books, they will have to research everything manually.


Although both print and digital textbooks have a lot of benefits, we cannot immediately stress that selecting one and focusing on it is enough to foster learning. There needs to be a balance between these two types of textbooks and know the preferences of the students. Having both types of textbooks available would ensure that students will have sources available to do their homework even if one somehow ends up unavailable.

For related articles, you might find these interesting:

Parents Need-To-Know: How Technology Has Changed Learning In Our Singapore Schools
Why Do We Still Need Tutors When We Can Just Google?


Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.