Back to the stone age! An Australian school ditches electronic devices such as iPads in a bid to reduce distractions.

With the digital age upon us, Reddam House Private School, in Sydney’s eastern suburb, has made a controversial choice to rewind the clock, reverting back paper textbooks.

The return to textbooks comes five years after the school introduced the use of e-textbook on iPads.

Back to Basics

According to the school, they decided to ban electronic devices, arguing that iPads were not improving student’s technology skills and instead hindered learning.

Principal Dave Pitcairn said the students were often distracted by incoming notification alerts and messages on their iPads while they were meant to be learning. The principal added that he believes students learn better and use more sense when they research on textbooks.

He said their Year 11 and 12 students were using hard-copy books during that time and even preferred it.

Pitcairn said:

“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.”

However, parents had mixed reactions regarding the issues, some saying they believed digital devices were essential for modern education.

This decision comes at a time when many schools worldwide are incorporating iPads and other digital devices in their classrooms.

What do experts say?

According to Canadian research, which involved 6,000 students that use iPads daily for learning, the use of digital devices has both benefits and downsides.

The study found that students who use iPads have easier access to information and were more motivated to learning. However, they develop poor writing skills and got distracted during classes.

Numerous other researches, including one that evaluated learning among students with an autism spectrum disorder, showed the pros (increasing independence) and the cons (math skill development) of using iPads in schools.

But more research needs to be done before any definitive answer can be reached.

Students learned from textbooks for hundreds of years and did just fine.

We’re not saying schools should be behind the times and hang onto unnecessary archaic methods of learning just for the sake of it. But considering children spend so much time glued to screens outside of school, would it really hurt them to have at least 6 hours out of the day in which they’re not?

Using textbooks will not only eliminate distractions posed by these devices but may also foster a love of reading in students who don’t otherwise use books.