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Sure, as we move forth technology is becoming more and more advanced but what does that mean for how our children learn? Well, apparently more and more schools have swapped to using iPads and Laptops over paper textbooks and things of the sort. 

These electronic devices are being used in schools across the globe and while some are still using paper textbooks and things of the sort it seems one that tried the new way out has decided to revert back to their old ways. As of around April in 2019 a school in Sydney decided to move back towards paper textbooks and away from electronics to cut back on distraction in regards to the children who are using them. For about five years (until making the swap back) this school was using e-textbooks on iPads as their means of education.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, this school decided to make the move back to doing things the ‘old fashioned’ way because it ‘improves comprehension and reduces distraction.’ This school, in particular, is Reddam House’s Primary and Junior High. According to the SMH, it seems consistently they were able to get feedback from students who overall preferred the pages of a book the looking at a screen anyways. 

In regards to all of this Principal Dave Pitcairn told SMH as follows back when the decision was made:

“We hadn’t completely gone away from hard copy, we kept year 11 and 12 hard copy.”

“When students got the year 11, and now had the comparison between digital and hard copy, they preferred hard copy.”

“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.”

“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.”

That having been said, the school is allowing a bring your own device policy with a preference for laptops which are much more realistic than iPads depending on how you look at things. That having been said, there will always be some kind of disconnect when it comes to these things as some people will learn easier/better with the books and others with the e-books/online options. Everyone is different and finding a good balance as technology advances will be a great means of growing as a whole in regards to education.

The SMH also reported as follows on the topic at hand:

Dr. Margaret Merga, a senior lecturer in education at Edith Cowan University, said an analysis of all the research into differences in book formats has found that understanding improves when information is read in a paper rather than a digital format.

Research into why young people prefer hard-copy textbooks “points to greater perceived comfort, comprehension, and also retention of what’s been read,” she said. “Some have found that there’s less immersive involvement [in digital text].”

A University of Maryland study in 2017 found there was little difference in the two formats when students were asked about the general themes of a text, but the printed version made them better able to answer specific questions.

The study’s authors suggested 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.

There are positive things about both and as noted above balance is needed for the future as things progress. What do you think about schools and technology use? Sure, using e-books over actual textbooks cuts back on trees being cut down and doesn’t make the children have to keep up with or carry as much but is it making a positive impact on our children through their learning? 

For more information on the use of iPads instead of actual books check out the videos below. Some schools think it’s great and others are not so convinced. I for one am on the fence entirely.