Watching children struggling to and from school with one, two, sometimes three bags crammed with text books, stationery, humongous pencil cases, sports clothes and equipment has been a cause for concern for me over the years.
It is impossible to find a bag big enough to squeeze all the essentials in without zips popping and seams ripping, not to mention the incredible strain all this puts on the children physically – arms, shoulders, necks and importantly, backs. Apparently school bags are now double the size of those carried ten years ago. So I wasn’t surprised to read last week that half of all children are reported to suffer from back pain by the age of 14.
It is, of course, essential that pupils have all of their reference materials and equipment to hand but thanks to advances in technology there is real hope that in the future there will be almost no need for them to carry text books to and from school every day. From the autumn term all of our senior school students will be issued with their own iPads and their shoulders, arms and backs will breathe a sigh of relief. With this extraordinarily flexible technology they face a bright future where they will have instant access to almost everything they need to be able to continue their learning and revision outside of school in the evenings, weekends, holidays, without lugging hefty bags around. It’ll make cycling around Cambridge a lot easier and safer too!
Attending an Apple Leadership Summit in Cambridge last week, I was heartened to see so many peers in education also actively engaged with their iPads, clearly intent on using this extraordinary technology not just for their own benefit but to further their students’ learning. iPads are no longer relevant just to the future of education, they are a gateway to fluid, portable learning that is the reality of education today. Through this technology, students can carry school with them wherever they go.