The iPads have it for school technology

THE modern student has swapped textbooks for technology.

Textbooks are a thing of the past in Orange high schools with James Sheahan Catholic High School the latest to make iPads a compulsory part of schooling. 

The average textbook weights about 1.5 kilograms and students at James Sheahan attended about six classes a day, which meant their backpacks were carrying up to nine kilograms which is double the recommended weight at 10 per cent of a child’s body weight.

The average weight of a 12-year-old is 45 kilograms. 

Without textbooks, children will carry an iPad which weights about 680 grams, a lead pencil which is about six grams, a pen which is three grams, an eraser at 12 grams and a lunchbox with lunch in it at about 750 grams and a few notebooks, all totalling about two kilograms.

The other bonus of having an iPad which contains electronic copies of the child’s textbooks, is that teachers are available 24/7 which is having varying degrees of success, James Sheahan eLearning co-ordinator Laura Tilston says. 

“We have a two week cycle so in some cases a child might only see their teacher once every two weeks but this way they can send them an email anytime and their teacher can respond when it is convenient,” she said.

There had been some teething problems which meant students were still carrying some textbooks to school but as those problems were ironed out, ideally no books would be needed, Mrs Tilston said. 

Students are connected to the school Wi-Fi which means access to inappropriate sites is prohibited but students can access games and research tools. 

Mrs Tilston said the novelty had not yet worn off and a group of students had been coming into the school library every lunchtime to play with their iPads.

However the day when kids can do away with pens and paper are nowhere in sight so long as the Higher School Certificate remains a written exam. 

nicole.kuter@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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