Research & Education

Mar 1, 2017

SCHOOL MANUALS IN TABLETS - LESS WEIGHT, LESS KNOWLEDGE?

Some way all around the world, parents are concerned about the weight their children have to carry in their school bags every day. This is all about the volume and number of school manuals that students carry, often kids still in physical development, which largely overdue all international recommendations about the relationship between weight of the child, and weight of the bag.

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There's no use trying to go around the subject, it's a problem, it's serious, it has to do about the future health of our kids and hit in some way, all the countries in the world. There are good and bad examples to solve it and, as always, those who agree and those who disagree.

The problem

World Health Organisation recommends the weight of a school bag must not exceed 10% of the total weight of the child who carries it. The average, some way around the world is this relation is exceeded, at least, three times.

If we think about it thoroughly, every day each mom and dad stuffs their kids bags, the books for each daily discipline, individual work books for each discipline, pedagogical material for support and backup for each discipline, one or more pen cases, pencils, rubbers, sharpeners, liners, rulers; plus an additional lunch bag.

Just make a small addition to realise this represents, at minimum, 10 kg. Which is obviously too much for a child of eight years, and 36 kg. I is consensual this relationship can develop bone and muscle problems and, as consequence, growth and even intellectual development.

Proposals

Most recent world trends to solve this problem point out to place the lectured programs of each discipline, in digital support for study and consultation in a more comfortable way and, above all, thus reducing the excessive charge to transport daily in the bags.

Some countries of northern Europe have opted and have been adopting this solution since 2013, in particular, Sweden, Norway and Finland and, additionally, also some schools in the United Kingdom have been adopting such solution as a study project.

The advantages are undeniable: a simple 300 grams tablet can support all manuals for all disciplines of the school curricula and even the work school books can be replaced by applications where the students can exercise their knowledge, abdicating paper and pencil.

Tatyana Belyavskaya, former teacher in S. Petersburg, software engineer, web designer, blogger and software developer, reminds several things we should know about this issue.

The blogger reminds that: tablets are making a revolution in the way of teaching and learning; they will function as catalysts for a new type of education; they are here to stay; they provide a new age of creative and interactive tools; they are an accessible and low cost solution; they are small and portable; easy to handle by younger kids with harder disciplines; and they stimulate sharing doubts and solutions, providing better learning indexes.

Controversy

As usual, every time a new technology is applied to so called traditional matters, there are the furious supporters and opponents. As to supporters and reasons for being in favour, we're done.

But Olle Johansson, Neuroscience Professor at the Karolinska Institute, in Stockholm, Sweden, refers several negative issues to the usage of this technology is educational systems.

According to this professor, recent results about children learning in disciplines such as Maths or Science are plummeting. These new processes have allowed the governments, to assign more administrative and educational responsibilities to school units, thus taking responsibility from the rulers and over carrying the small educational structures.

These, in their turn, are very relieved for such a huge support, in which they don't need to contribute with providing contents, freeing them for the new bureaucratic tasks.

These pedagogical innovations, however, besides the relief of school bags weight, place the children over a larger exposition for the radiation produced by these devices (even though minimum, children are exposed much earlier, and for much longer) and they are also a permanent distraction motive, as it is seen that, at the same time they can be used as school manuals, they are also open communication doors for the internet world (emails, sms, social networks, etc.).
And, finally, he still calls us out for the synthesis of the school programs and the works to include to the manuals. Imagine all Shakespeare works, analysed, commented, and resumed to six e-book pages...

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