If your child is older than, say, about 7, chances are his backpack may possibly weigh more than he does. Since the second grade, there have been days where the walk home from my son’s school has left my back and shoulders feeling slightly traumatized. And my son is quite tall for his age; I can’t fathom how the smaller kids in his class, especially some of the little girls, manage the backpack up two flights of stairs each day.
So I was filled with delight when I heard that Apple is expected to announce new partnerships today that will bring digital textbooks to students at an event at the Guggenheim Museum. If anyone can do it, Apple can.
It was just thirty years ago when Steve Jobs lobbied to get computers into the classroom and through much effort (and tax breaks from the government), that dream was made possible. That changed school as we know it. By second grade, many kids are doing research projects online, and most Pre-K classes have routine computer technology classes. Let’s face it: the whole world is online now and if you’re not, you’re going to be lost in the education process.
Bringing textbooks to a mainstream digital format is the natural step forward. There is no need for kids to lug home 20- or 30-pound schoolbags just to do homework on one single page. At the same time, teachers don’t always have the time or school resources to manually make copies for each student either, and if they did, that choice is not the best environmentally sound option.
I also wonder how much the digital versions will improve quality of information supplied to our kids. Too many schools suffer with old textbooks that have outdated information, missing or graffiti filled pages, that are basically falling apart just because they don’t have the funds to supply new books for the whole school. Digital versions will be cheaper, once the iPads are in place, of course.
Apple plans to accomplish the new dream of iPads for every classroom by utilizing some of the same tools they did for getting computers into the classroom, mostly by calling on the government to offer technology grants to schools. Of course, the partnership will yield mass profit for Apple as the Washington Post reports, the company plans to “aggressively push a strategy that would secure its dominance among a variety of schools, from New York City’s public system to Stanford University.”
Would you prefer to have your child’s textbooks in digital format? How heavy is your child’s backpack?
UPDATE: See video below for official video presenting Apple’s iBooks 2.
For eco-conscious kids to mini-fashionistas: Babble’s Best Kids Backpacks!