iPads take center stage at Sydney school as pen and paper are pushed aside
In a yearlong trial, a Sydney school has issued 145 year 6 students with iPads, which will be used to complete most of their classwork. So what will happen to pen and paper as more and more new technologies are introduced in schools? Do they have a future? Perhaps – well, I’m rooting for the pen.
The discussion about pen and paper versus tablets has been ongoing since the tablet was introduced, and while the tablet might replace paper, I predict the pen on tablet approach will be maintained – thereby preserving a form of handwriting – as will the finger on tablet methodology. It is only natural that children learn to read and write using modern technologies that they find engaging. And Sydney teachers and parents have noted that the findings so far show that students’ enthusiasm for learning is through the roof.
The same issues arise with anything new. I remember when I was a student at the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in the early nineties and we discussed old printing and typography techniques, and how they needed to make way for computers – not only in the classroom, thereby saving space, but in our study schedules too. Many people spoke about their fears related to the impact the computer would have on their traditional creative processes. But as time passed it became evident that new technologies were not only enhancing the toolbox available to the artist, but also making creative processes more effective.
Technology doesn’t need to be feared, as an article about the trial in Sydney explains: “What the iPad does – apart from put a world of knowledge immediately within reach of everyone in the room at the same time – is make technology integral to learning, rather than an add-on experience.”