Australian school gives up iPad and returns to paper textbooks as iPad is believed to distract students from learning


As the era shift, we see more and more people progress into using digital tools in teaching and learning. However, one school in Sydney has declared that the e-book era over for them as other classrooms across Australia embrace the digital textbooks.

Reddam House’s primary and junior high school classes have been using e-textbooks on iPads for the past five years.

However, the school received consistent feedback from the students saying that they prefer to flip pages rather than the iPad screens.

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Not only that, but the teachers also found that the iPads were distracting for the children and did not really contribute to students’ technology skills. It seems that the children can’t really focus on learning while using iPads and didn’t really pay an adequate amount to the teachings.

Hence, the school made a decision to announce that students should no longer use digital textbooks as they used too, but must revert to the hard-copy versions instead.

“We hadn’t completely gone away from hard copy. We kept year 11 and 12 hard copy. When (students) got to year 11, and now had the comparison between digital and hard copy, they preferred the hard copy,” said the principal, Dave Pitcairn.

“The ease of navigation through the textbook was easier with the hard copy. I believe they learn better the more faculties they use, the more senses they use in research and reading and making notes.”

The teachers at the eastern suburbs private school also reported that iPads were hindering the learning process of the students.

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“Students could have messages popping up and all sorts of other alerts. Also, kids being kids, they could jump between screens quite easily, so would look awfully busy and not be busy at all,” added Pitcairn.

While some might say that they’re going backward, a study by the University of Maryland in 2017 found that the printed version made students better able to answer specific questions.

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The author of the study also suggested that the print be preferred when an assignment demands more engagement or deeper comprehension, or if students (primary, secondary or tertiary) were required to read more than one page or 500 words.

It seems that they didn’t ‘dump’ iPads for nothing!