Schools put tablets on stationery lists

Principals see devices as integral to learning but others warn of burden from extra expense.

More and more schools see individual devices as necessary and some see parents benefiting too. Photo / APN Children are increasingly being asked by schools to take digital devices to their lessons, amid warnings that the trend is piling more financial pressure on parents.

St Paul's Collegiate in Hamilton has made tablet computers compulsory for its year 9 students, while Orewa College has made internet-capable devices mandatory for all its year 8, 9 and 10 students.Orewa College principal Kate Shevland said such devices were "absolutely" the future and her school's push had wider backing from students' parents."It is quite a big commitment for schools which is why we have had quite a lot of interest in what we have done."The school does not provide a lease-to-buy arrangement on devices but guides parents in the direction of suppliers. Last year the decile 9 school provided devices for six of its 320 year 9 students on a loan scheme.But Darryl Evans of the Mangere Budgeting Service said digital devices added extra financial pressure on parents already burdened with costs for uniforms, shoes, stationery and fees - often for more than one child."The problem is parents have so many other things they need to buy at this time of year, it's problematic and it's not going to get any easier."However, Auckland Grammar School principal Tim O'Connor saw no reason to make digital devices mandatory for his students."It's a specific style of education and we would like to think however we incorporate smart devices or digital technology it would really be about using it as a tool in amongst our current practices."They have so much access to it outside of seven 40-minute lessons of the day that not having it for each one of those lessons may actually make them more focused on the lessons at hand."

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