|English: A Sandisk-brand USB thumb drive, SanDisk Cruzer Micro, 4GB. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
In reading about it, I also think that tablets suit modern policy debate well too.
One of the biggest changes in policy debate history has been the introduction of laptops and flash drives. A lot of arguments and evidence are shared between teams by being flashed from computer to computer. This saves on carrying heavy tubs of paper around, and saves on printing and copying (both huge expenses in the traditional debating world). But a lot of time and frustration is wasted in the debate trying to get the information from one team's laptop to another's. I've also seen moments where partners could not get the right information from laptop to laptop.
Tablets would solve this. You hand the tablet with your PDF on it to the other team. They jot some notes, return it to you.
Or even better: The tournament hosts set up a computer as a public server. Bring a router up to the tournament, plug in the laptop or desktop that will have the documents. Everyone connects to the router (it doesn't have internet, it's not necessary). Each team puts their documents into a folder based on their team name, and a subfolder for Aff and Neg. You use your tablet during the debate to access those files.
The only barrier is cost, but at $200 a piece, tablets are a reasonable investment for a debate program. One would spend that in extra baggage fees between one or two tournaments in the paper debating world these days.
I hope to see tablets become the next phase of paperless debating.