School Ditches iPads, Goes Back To Good Old Paper Textbooks And Students Are Happy

School Ditches iPads, Goes Back To Good Old Paper Textbooks And Students Are Happy

Amidst the digital era, one school seems to have understood the importance of hard copy textbooks and how distracting the digital format actually is.

Technology is constantly evolving and pushing the boundaries, so it's no surprise that advancements made in this field are bound to influence others in some way or the other. One such example is the embracing of digital textbooks in schools all across the country. And why not? Having all your texts in a sleek iPad is obviously more convenient than carrying loads of old-fashioned hard copies. However, a  Sydney-based school believes otherwise.



According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the primary and junior high students at Reddam House School has been using e-textbooks on their iPads for the past five years. However, the feedback hasn't been really positive. They have been consistently picking regular old pages over digital screens due to the lack of distractions that iPads have. 



Many argued that using a digital pad in place of the old fashioned books might enhance a student's technological prowess and render them tech-savvy but Reddam House's teachers begged to differ. Coinciding with their student's feedback, the tutors have dismissed iPads saying that they are nothing but distracting objects that do not contribute towards kid's technological skills. The school authorities came to the conclusion that the students are no longer required to use digital textbooks and should immediately return to the old-school hard copies.


Speaking to the news outlet, the principal of Reddam House School,  Dave Pitcairn informed how despite the introduction of a digital method of education they hadn't fully cut ties with the physical texts. "We hadn't completely gone away from hard copy," he said. Explaining further, Pitcairn revealed how the school provided students of year 11 and 12 were given a choice. "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," he added. 


Elaborating further, he revealed, "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," added Pitcairn. Reports about the iPads hindering the process of learning were constantly made by teachers at the eastern suburbs private school which customarily appears on HSC's top-ten honors record.  "[Students] could have messages popping up and all sorts of other alerts," said Principal Pitcairn. 


"Also, kids being kids, they could jump between screens quite easily, so would look awfully busy and not be busy at all," he added. The school is also on its way to discard the use of iPads completely and lay down a bring-your-own-device policy which would mainly give preference to laptops. The senior lecturer at Edith Cowan University, Dr. Margaret Merga carried out a thorough examination of several pieces of researches about the various types of book formats.  After an extensive amount of analysis, she found that that one's understanding remarkably improved when the information is read off of paper instead of a digital screen. 


Revealing why young students chose hard-copy books instead of the digital format she explained how this choice "points to greater perceived comfort, comprehension, and also retention of what's been read." Furthermore, she said, "Some have found that there's less immersive involvement [in digital text]." A 2017 study conducted by the University of Maryland found there was hardly any difference between the two formats when the students were asked about the general theme of both the texts. That being said, when it came to answering specific questions, the printed version seemed to make the pupils answer better. 


In addition to this finding, the author of this study also suggested the method of printed textbooks if the assignment required a deeper comprehension and engagement. It was also a recommended method if (primary, secondary or tertiary) students had to read more than 500 words. Now, the only problem that remains in the weight of these hard copies, but Mr. Pitcairn seems to have a solution for this as well. He said that the students were allowed to leave their textbooks in the lockers or use the digital method at home. "I've noticed that students prefer their textbook in both places," he added. 


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