Why is My Son’s Backpack as Heavy as a Truck?


Stack_of_books2I never see my son crack open a book. Ever. When my high schooler does homework its on my laptop or his iPhone. I know this because he leaves all of his browser tabs open when he is finished. Kind of like how he leaves all of his stinky tennis socks laying around the house after tennis. He does it without thinking about it. It’s what comes natural to him. Why then, is he lugging around a backpack that weighs 20 lbs?

I am wondering why schools are still investing millions of dollars into textbooks that nobody ever opens.  And why would they open those books when they have everything they need online?

Sometimes I become the suspicious paranoid parent and ask him what he is watching all the time on his phone. His answers usually blow my mind as well as put me at ease. He will say things like, “Oh, I was just watching how Elon Musk is going to change the world with these batteries.” Or, “There is a rare fish I heard about that I wanted to check out.” His natural curiosity is fueled by the world around him and by the wealth of information online. Not textbooks.

It makes me pause and wonder in a world where digital publishing is starting to make a huge footprint in media distribution, why aren’t more schools jumping on board? How long does it take to change direction in public education? 

Check out Physics in Motion by Fritz Lauriston. He is a physics teacher at Battle Ground Academy in Franklin, TN. He published his own iBook through our company, Score Publishing, and his students have adopted the text for his class. Not only is the book a fraction of the cost of their previous textbook,  but he tailored the book for his students and school. What a powerful way to impact his students’ learning experience with him. No more sore backs for those kids!

I am hopeful that with movements like #GoOpen, #OER, Ditch the Textbook Founder, Matt Miller, and tools like iBooks Author, educational leaders will see the light for these students. Stop making deals with big publishers. There are better ways to engage students and get rid of that monkey on their back. Use digital media that integrates up to date information, videos, and multi touch content. Let’s meet our kids where they are not where we’ve made the deal. Have a thought? Share it in the comments section!


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