Laptop or iPad? It's an open and shut case

Students work on their devlce of choice - laptop computers. Photo SYLVIA LIBER
Students work on their devlce of choice - laptop computers. Photo SYLVIA LIBER

Once hailed as the poster child of digital interactive learning, tablets are falling increasingly out of favour in NSW schools after being found to be less practical than laptops.

Both private and public schools have moved towards "bring your own device" (BYOD) policies and when parents and children have been asked to choose, laptops have been the overwhelming favourite.

In February, the Education Department launched the BYOD program in NSW public schools.

"The policy gives principals the option, in consultation with their school communities, to enable students to bring their own personal mobile devices to school for the purpose of learning," a department spokesman said.

In 2011, the department conducted a trial using iPads in three schools in the Sydney region.

One of the schools, Towradgi Public School, put its request in for new classroom devices on Monday. It has decided to order laptops.

However, principal Catherine Broadbridge said the school would still maintain the iPads received for the 2011 trial in its mainstream and special needs classes.

At the end of the trial, the department said it had no plans to issue iPads statewide because they did not provide the tools and functions offered by laptops.

But some schools believe the iPad is still a valuable learning resource.

Richard Ford, deputy head of learning and teaching at St Andrew's School in Sydney, said the school still maintained iPads as the device of choice up to year 10.


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