We all know children carry around a lot of gear in their school bags. Lots of parents complain about their children having to carry too much weight. But then, the question that rises is: ‘what is too much?’ The School of Physiotherapy, Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, Trinity College Dublin, explains that the general guideline consists of a 10% weight depending on the student’s weight. About 70 % of all children participating in the study surpassed that guideline. The average weight of a school bag came out at 6,2 kilos.
The weight of an iPad is approximately 1 pound (469 g). If in time we could replace a lot of the students’ books by iPad compatible applications, we will seriously decrease the weight of an average school bag. This however will be a process taking many years. You cannot expect students and teachers to change their ways and habits in the blink of an eye. To start, teachers should get proper training on how to use, adopt and most importantly teach with modern technology. Most of the students associate iPad usage with ‘free-time’. The iPad has a vast role in entertainment. The challenge teachers face is to convince and motivate students to using their iPads as an effective study tool.
The impact on the weight of school bags will be minimal in the beginning, but could increase in the future. As a start, we should be replacing all textbooks by their digital modification. In the beginning it will be necessary to keep a hold on the coursebooks. If you want to replace the coursebooks with digital alternatives, you should make them interactive and easy to use.
Textbooks represent about half the books students are carrying in their school bags, and should be a good start. Step by step you can replace different tasks and resources with their digital alternative. A good example is homework. If you think about it, most students take their books home when they have to study or have to do a task at home. When giving assignments for homework you could let the students make a digital version of their work. This is good for the weight of schoolbags as well for the diminution of ‘spoiling’ paper.