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Thread: Will the new Kindle increase walking and health?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus pcjournal's avatar
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    Will the new Kindle increase walking and health?

    Amazon is working with textbook publishers to have their books converted for use on the Kindle DX (weight: one pound). The average 11th grade student in California carries some 20 pounds of textbooks. Will there be a connection between the development of electronic textbooks & increased student walking & biking? If so, that's a positive long-term development for our communities, also reducing car trips (here in Burlington, VT, our biggest traffic jams are at the High School when parents are dropping their kids off, and seniors are driving into the parking lot).

    Just posted a more extended take on this on the PlannersWeb.
    Wayne Senville, Editor
    PlannersWeb.com / Planning Commissioners Journal
    P.O. Box 4295, Burlington, VT 05406

    Website: www.plannersweb.com/
    Linkedin:www.linkedin.com/in/waynesenville
    Twitter: www.twitter.com/PlanningJournal
    email: pcjoffice@gmail.com


  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Oh, God no.

    The only way to increase walkability is to improve the proximity of schools to where the students live.

    Even then not everyone will walk.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
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    You are making the assumption that kids don't walk or bike to school because they are carrying books. The truth (generally) is that kids don't walk or bike to school because of the distance of subdivisions to schools and the lack of non-motorized facilities.
    Back home just in time for hockey season!

  4. #4
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Coragus View post
    You are making the assumption that kids don't walk or bike to school because they are carrying books. The truth (generally) is that kids don't walk or bike to school because of the distance of subdivisions to schools and the lack of non-motorized facilities.
    Also factoring in is the fast-growing desire on the part of parents to 'bubble wrap' their kids to protect them from any potential threats (wondering how those kids will relate to the REAL World when they grow up.... ).

    As for 'accessibility' of the schools, while my grade school was a quick two-block walk, I went to junior and senior high schools that were SIGNIFICANT distances from where I was living when I was growing up, even though both of those schools and the house were in the same muni with sidewalks and so forth connecting the entire way. I either rode my bicycle or took city buses (normal all-day transit routes for the HS and yes, some of the bus rides required waiting in negative double-digit temps - I just bundled up more on those days). I was seldom driven by the parents and usually that was because something was going on that made any other mode impractical.

    Mike

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    I agree with previous posters -- kids are not walking to school primarily because their firightened parents won't let them. These days, you would be considered neglectful and irresponsible if you let your grade schooler walk to school on their own. Most parents expect that they will be able to drop their kids off and watch them enter and exit the school. I'm not sure who to blame about this....in most places in the US, kids are safer than ever before.

    My kindergarteners ride the bus and my neighbor friends think that I'm a terrible mother for not driving them to school.

    On the other side, there are also numerous physical barriers to walking/biking - including the consolidation of schools outside of neighborhoods and lack of funding to pay for crossing guards.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    Agree with the above posters. We tried to obtain funds for bike racks for local schools as part of a Safe Routes to School project and the school district would have none of it. The culture of litigation these days makes any measures to get kids walking and biking extremely difficult in a lot of cases.

  7. #7
    Dan Staley's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Coragus View post
    You are making the assumption that kids don't walk or bike to school because they are carrying books. The truth (generally) is that kids don't walk or bike to school because of the distance of subdivisions to schools and the lack of non-motorized facilities.
    Our school is a pleasant, safe 9-minute walk/bike for 6-yo legs. She walks-bikes just fine in all weather every day, but the kid 6 houses up is driven to school, as are most of the kids attending there. The parents wait after school, many with engines running, then speed home through the school zone. I've noticed the same phenomenon in a half-dozen states, regardless of non-motorized facilities.

    It is the parents. I'm with southside.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Could you say that there is an analogy between Kindle and high schoolers and the impact that Ipods have had on adults exercising for better health. Ipods have likely little to encourage those who haven't exercise to do so. They have just made it less boring for those who already exercise to do so. My guess is it's the same with Kindle and high schoolers.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Plus Shellac And Vinyl VelocitY's avatar
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    I agree with the above posters, and I'll go a few steps further...
    Quote Originally posted by pcjournal View post
    Amazon is working with textbook publishers to have their books converted for use on the Kindle DX (weight: one pound). The average 11th grade student in California carries some 20 pounds of textbooks.
    Students carry & haul significantly less weight throughout the day--->
    Students burn significantly fewer calories throughout the day--->
    Students gain more weight & are in worse physical shape.

    A few years from now, media headliner:
    "Kindle Contributes to Childhood Obesity"

    A few seconds after that media headliner, another media headliner:
    "Parents File Class Action Lawsuit Against Amazon for Misrepresenting Kindle Benefits"






    pcjournal, please be careful about what you promote. You heard it here first.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    I think the bigger question would be: what impact on children's brains and attention spans are created by reading textbooks on a Kindle?

    If TV, computers, and video games rot their mind, cause lack of attention span, and change the way the brain works, what would a Kindle do?

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Tobinn's avatar
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    I think we've gotten off the original question which is could the use of an electronic textbook device have an impact on the number of students walking to school.

    I think yes. Probably not a very big impact but for those students who would walk if it were not for a 20 pound load I suppose it could be the turning point.

    Unfortunately, in comparison to all the other reasons students don't walk to school (many listed here already to which I'll add the general preponderance of many people to shrug off personal responsibility such as the responsibility not to speed especially in residential areas) I think it'll amount to a drop in the ocean.

    Off topic - I wonder if I would have preferred a Kindle-like device when I was in school. I seem to remember having fingers stuck in two or three sections of book at a time cross-referencing things, quickly looking backwards and forwards through the book - I wonder how that would play out in an electronic device.
    At times like this, you have to ask yourself, "WWJDD?"
    (What Would Jimmy Durante Do?)

  12. #12
    Cyburbian estromberg's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by southsideamy View post
    I agree with previous posters -- kids are not walking to school primarily because their firightened parents won't let them. These days, you would be considered neglectful and irresponsible if you let your grade schooler walk to school on their own. Most parents expect that they will be able to drop their kids off and watch them enter and exit the school. I'm not sure who to blame about this....in most places in the US, kids are safer than ever before.

    My kindergarteners ride the bus and my neighbor friends think that I'm a terrible mother for not driving them to school.

    On the other side, there are also numerous physical barriers to walking/biking - including the consolidation of schools outside of neighborhoods and lack of funding to pay for crossing guards.
    I'd be interested to find out if the actually statistics of child abduction and what not are actually increasing. I'd argue that the 24 hour news cycle just makes it seem that way, because we are hearing about it happening in other parts of the Country that we never had any news coverage of before.

    That being said, textbooks on a Kindle would have been awesome when I was in high school and college. Chemistry, Physics and Calculus books are HEAVY.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally posted by Tobinn View post
    I think we've gotten off the original question which is could the use of an electronic textbook device have an impact on the number of students walking to school.

    I think yes. Probably not a very big impact but for those students who would walk if it were not for a 20 pound load I suppose it could be the turning point.

    Unfortunately, in comparison to all the other reasons students don't walk to school (many listed here already to which I'll add the general preponderance of many people to shrug off personal responsibility such as the responsibility not to speed especially in residential areas) I think it'll amount to a drop in the ocean.

    Off topic - I wonder if I would have preferred a Kindle-like device when I was in school. I seem to remember having fingers stuck in two or three sections of book at a time cross-referencing things, quickly looking backwards and forwards through the book - I wonder how that would play out in an electronic device.
    Research on walking to school has fond that the weight of books is very minor in predicting who walks. As others have said, its distance to school, the amount of traffic and safety that determine walking, not book weight.

  14. #14
    Dan Staley's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gotta Speakup View post
    Research on walking to school has fond that the weight of books is very minor in predicting who walks. As others have said, its distance to school, the amount of traffic and safety that determine walking, not book weight.
    ISTM it is the irrational fears of parents that also determine who walks, as I explored above.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Plus pcjournal's avatar
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    good replies

    Enjoyed reading the replies. Two basic points seemed to come out:

    1. it's more important to have schools located close to where people live. I totally agree. By posting about the Kindle I certainly didn't mean to imply that this would be a bigger factor than better school location. In fact, we've published several articles in the Planning Commissioners Journal focusing largely on the importance of school location, and the need for planners to exert more influence with local school officials.
    -- Schools & Sprawl (actually two separate articles)
    -- Safe Routes to School
    -- Breach the Wall of Separation

    (if any Cyburbia users would like a complimentary pdf of any of the above articles, please message me, and include your email address)

    2. the point that there's a degree of fear parents have about allowing their kids to walk. Certainly, the Safe Routes to Schools is a great way to address that. I'd be curious if anyone has other ideas on how to deal with this.

    Again, my point about the Kindle is that sometimes things that don't, on their face, seem related to concerns planners are addressing, may well make a difference. That may or may not be the case with the Kindle and related electronic textbooks. I don't think anyone can say for sure yet.
    Wayne Senville, Editor
    PlannersWeb.com / Planning Commissioners Journal
    P.O. Box 4295, Burlington, VT 05406

    Website: www.plannersweb.com/
    Linkedin:www.linkedin.com/in/waynesenville
    Twitter: www.twitter.com/PlanningJournal
    email: pcjoffice@gmail.com


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