Watching my 12 year old hoist his absurdly heavy backpack on his shoulders this morning makes this older article from School Library Journal particularly interesting to me. From the September 2010 issue, library media specialist Jeff Hastings writes in his article Test Driving the iPad:
"As a school librarian, even doing something routine on the iPad, like browsing articles using the USA Today app - one of 150,000 apps available...reminds me of how static and lame school textbooks are in comparison. As I tap my way through its daily crossword, I imagine textbooks similarly retooled for the iPad platform, complete with interactive quizzes, personal and locational customizations, scalable text, curriculum-based games, videos, and live web links...Imagine a talking language textbook that also used speech recognition to coach pronunciation, a social studies text with interactive maps, a violin primer that would patiently teach you to join it in a duet as it accompanies on cello. There are so many possibilities. And even though there are already digital textbooks...available...most are no more interactive than their print counterparts. There may be a big career opportunity wrapped in that last sentence..." I couldn't agree more. One of my younger son's many textbooks costs $75 to replace and is heavy and cumbersome and anything but user-friendly for today's kids. As a librarian and a book lover, I am not for replacing books with all their tactile papery goodness with nothing but kindles and nooks, but I feel there is room for both books and computers to co-exist in the same harmony in the real world as in my messy house. And what a joy it would be to see my kid tuck his slim, light as a feather iPad into his backpack as he heads out to school in the morning.