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Digital backpack – convenience, but at what cost?

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This school year, in addition to renovated classrooms and corridors, schools also welcome their pupils with an innovation that would ease their preparation for class – the digital backpack. It is a free online platform that allows students from grades 1 to 12th to access their textbooks entirely online. The paper versions continue to exist, but students can decide not to carry them, in order to make their actual backpack lighter. Although this is part of digitization, which is an irreversible process in every sphere, the digital backpack has sparked discussions among teachers. According to some, it is a good opportunity worth taking advantage of, while others remain skeptical about how useful and practical its use actually is.

"On the one hand, we meet the new needs of the generations that come after us, but on the other, we could be moving too far away from what we think works for the benefit of the students,” Violetka Stoeva, who is a teacher in history, says in an interview with Radio Bulgaria. "When something passes in front of the eyes and through the hand, we know that psychologically this works extremely well for accumulating new knowledge."

In addition to the content that is already available on the new electronic platform, teachers can also create content that will be published after it has been reviewed by experts.

Each school has the right to decide who will lead the training of teachers - an IT teacher or an external expert.

By using the digital backpack, students will also have access to personalized content for each of them, tailored to their knowledge and difficulties. However, will this content be presented clearly and comprehensibly enough for students with special educational needs?

"I sincerely hope that the learning resources will be adapted for them as well because from the 5th grade onwards, we get quite busy and we cannot provide sufficient help to children with intellectual and other types of difficulties,” teacher Violetka Stoeva admits. “Sometimes, the vast amount of information they have to learn, makes it just too much for them to handle. For me, this is one of the most difficult tasks. In a class with 25 or 30 children it is not easy at all to find time to pay special attention to everyone."

Her practice as a teacher and in a group for all-day organization of the learning process shows that despite the desire of students to absorb as much knowledge as possible through various electronic devices, this way of studying is not always effective for them.