One school thought it was cool when it got rid of all its paper textbooks. Because it wanted to “embrace the modern age,” the school shelled out thousands of dollars in taxpayer funds to arm every student with an iPad. While this might have seemed like a bad idea from an outsider’s perspective, the school thought it was brilliant and could not wait to get their students up-and-running with modern technology.
Instead of using the iPads to learn, the students did what should have been expected. They accessed social media; they used the camera to take selfies; they played games; they texted each other from across the classroom. Students even held video chats while teachers were trying to teach lessons. It was a disaster.
Now the Reddam House Private School in Sydney, Australia, has wizened up and banned iPads and similar devices from class. Instead, they are getting students to use “normal” textbooks again so the focus can be on learning their material instead of using Snapchat and socializing with their young peers via their iPads.
Because students at the school have been wasting their time on iPads for the past five years – instead of learning their material – the expensive private school saw a drastic drop in performance. As parents pulled their students from the private institution to bring them back into public schools, principal Dave Pitcaim knew he had to do something to fix the problem. He realized that if he removed the iPads, the problem would disappear. So in a “drastic” move, he forced his students to return to the good old fashion way of learning – by reading books.
Research from Canada followed 6,000 students and their iPad usage as it pertained to their education. While the iPad helped them access information faster, it eroded their writing skills and provided distractions come class time.
As a result, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) urged educators around the globe to curb the use of iPads and computers because they did not offer a benefit in reading ability. Not only did the results show no improvement in reading, but there were also no advancements in math either. Not only were iPads doing nothing for their ability to learn, but the students also were not scoring any better on their Program for International Student Assessment test. In other words, the expensive investment of equipping students with iPads did little but shovel money into the pockets of Apple shareholders. The students did not benefit.
Besides the lack of positive results, iPads might also be dangerous. Blue light emitted from such devices, which is still being studied, might be linked to eye damage, mental health complications, delayed language development, obesity, and attention-deficit issues. In other words, arming students with iPads may increase their risk of having a mental health issue, suffering from obesity, and developing ADHD. While Apple and other manufacturers might push iPads and tablets onto students as “advanced learning equipment,” the results simply do not back up the expensive investment.
Do you prefer students to learn with iPads or real textbooks?
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