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Online Textbooks Come to Fairfax County

Bryant Alternative High School was a pilot school for online textbook program

Nearly every social studies student in Fairfax County middle and high schools started using online textbooks this fall.

"Electronic books, having changed the way many people read for pleasure, are now seeping into schools," the Washington Post reported. "Starting this fall, almost all Fairfax middle and high school students began using online books in social studies, jettisoning the tomes that have weighed down backpacks for decades."

Fairfax County Public Schools to integrate online textbooks into its social studies curriculum on July 15, citing students' increasing use of technology in their daily lives.

Alhough backpack weight was not flagged as a central issue in switching the digital social studies textbooks in Fairfax County, it is a concern for health professionals. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, "A loaded backpack shouldn't exceed 10 percent of a child's body weight." This means that a 100-pound middle or high school student's backpack should weigh about 10 pounds.  

However, the American Chiropractic Association says, "the average child carries about 22% of his or her body weight." 

"FCPS will pay for the textbook license up front and make up for the costs by reducing per-pupil textbook funding for middle and high school students by $10.93 for the next six years," . "The funding is projected to be replenished by 2017."

Hard copies will still be available. For every 100 online textbook subscriptions, the school district receives 30 hard copies.

 in the Fort Hunt area was one of the FCPS schools that participated in online textbook pilot program. Nearly 8,000 students and more than 100 teachers participated in the pilot.

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