Take a Load Off
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there are more than 6,500 emergency room visits each year by children ages 5 to 18, which stem from injuries related to carrying heavy backpacks or book bags. Additional research by the CPSC shows that by the end of their teen years, nearly 60 percent of children experience at least one lower-back pain incident. As a result, over the past decade, schools and backpack companies have been looking for a reasonable alternative to the weighty backpacks that students carry today. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a student’s backpack weigh no more than 10 to 20 percent of a student’s weight, but Consumer Reports highly recommends keeping the weight closer to 10 percent. The spine was designed to carry large loads, but only for short distances, and not often. The average high school backpack weight is 22.5 lbs., and carrying it around all the time cause a wide range of back problems. The point I’m trying to make is, how many times a day do you have to pick up your 20 plus pound backpack and lug it to your next class in the other building, or to lunch, or to the gym along with your clothes and sports equipment?
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While keeping this daunting task in mind, it should be known that to attack this problem head on we must eliminate textbooks as much as possible. The giant textbooks that students carry around from class to class take a toll on the back and the environment. Apple founder, Steve Jobs, may have solved this whole dilemma for us. Steve Jobs is the creator of the IPad, a revolutionary 1½-pound tablet the size of a piece of paper that is always up-to-date and internet-connected. This is not just a reasonable alternative to textbooks; it’s a superior one.
Now, I believe we can kill two birds with one stone by using the IPad by greatly reducing the number of back injuries caused by backpacks and modernizing the way we learn. With the large number of books that are required for students, don’t you think it is a little unreasonable to ask kids to be carrying all of them around? Wouldn’t it be easier to carry a 1½-pound tablet that holds all your textbooks for you as well as helping to save the environment?
It should be known, according to Café ‘Scribe, a technology company in Salt Lake City, Utah dedicated to helping people share technology more efficiently, that 626,000 tons of paper are used in book production in the US each year. There were 24.6 million trees cut down for textbook production in the U.S. last year alone. Just imagine the number of trees we can save by switching from textbooks to e-books.
These e-books or replacement textbooks are going to be the biggest thing in schools since the calculator. First of all, no matter how many books you have downloaded onto the IPad it never gets any heavier. The 16GB IPad can hold up to 1,000 books that average 250 pages, so there is no reason for space to be an issue. As well as the efficient amount of space in the IPad, it also has up to 10 hours of battery life.
Lastly, there is a new IPad application that could further lighten the load. A new company called Inkling hopes to help textbooks enter the interactive age by letting students share and comment on the texts and interact with fellow students. Matt MacInnis, founder and chief executive of Inkling said, “Inkling’s goal involves using the content of an existing textbook as a skeleton, casting off the shackles of the book and adding interactive and multimedia content that could only work on the IPad.” He is changing the rules of the classroom as we speak, making textbooks from top education publishers like McGraw-Hill Higher Education, IPad-friendly and fun to use. If that is not enough I can tell you the IPad is a more interactive way of learning, meaning that there are many more tools to use and ways to communicate in and out of the classroom. You can also take it anywhere. Students can carry these devices with them wherever they go. It would be like having a portable updated and Internet connected study guide at all times. What’s not to like?
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I’m sure by now there is one lingering question on the minds of every school head and administrator. What is the financial impact? It’s called a volume purchase package. Apple has a program where McDonogh can enroll to become a Program Manager. Next we will be able to set up and manage Program Facilitators using provided management tools. A Program Facilitator would be anyone in our school who will redeem Volume Vouchers, buy codes for apps, and then distribute the codes to end users. On a related note, the cost of textbooks is rising every year. According to howmuchisit.org the average total cost of textbooks for a single year of high school ranges from $200 to $500 dollars. By switching to the IPad, each student will save hundreds for years to come. Yes, the cost of a new IPad is five hundred dollars standard, but we will not have to spend nearly as much on textbooks. The books that are purchased through the apps off the volume purchase packages can be bought by the chapter, so instead of buying 25 chapter textbooks for $100 when you are only going to study 15 chapters all year you can buy one chapter at a time for $3.99, totaling about $60.
Now, I know this is a lot to take in at once and like all new expeditions this will take some well thought out planning, but I believe that by taking small steps into the new age of technology and learning, we can begin to use these devices in everyday study. The future of education is now. Hear me out teachers and fellow students, and let’s take a load off.
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