Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The Case for Digital Textbooks

My son will be 14 next month. He starts his second year at secondary school on Friday. He'll do his first state examination, the Junior Certificate, in summer 2015.

Pictured is a selection of just some of the textbooks he is required to have. This is about 60% of the total set, not counting copybooks, homework journal etc. This lot alone weighs more than 10 kilos.

Luckily, his school runs a book loan scheme, so we've only had to pay a fraction of the total cost of these books. So, I'm not complaining about the cost.

My son gets quite a lot of homework. Each evening he has homework for between 6 and 8 of his subjects. That means he is carrying at least one textbook and one copybook per subject home in his bag. Some mornings last year I could not physically lift his schoolbag. He's a little bit taller than me, but fairly skinny. I watch him staggering down the road to the bus stop with a heavy weight on his back.

David Hopkins wrote last week about digital textbooks and how we are not yet at the point where digital textbooks can be embraced. But surely there must be a better way?


David Hopkins said...

Hi Sharon - a perfect example of the need for teachers / educators / planers / policy-makers to think before they assign. Your son has a huge pile of books, probable assigned by different teachers who never think outside their own subject or classroom, therefore never realise how they are contributing to the pile of books or homework each student has to content with.

Do you think their attitude would change if they knew this, and knew of the alternative?

All the best, David

Sharon Flynn said...

Thanks for the comment David.
Unfortunately, no, I don't think their attitude would change. It's not like they are not aware of it - I'm sure they've had kids who carried heavy school bags.

Or maybe I've just had a long day and am feeling a little cynical!