Students prepare to ditch books in favour of iPads

Come September, up to 100 children attending a secondary school in Co Cork will no longer have to lug around backbreaking satchels.

And Coláiste Treasa in Kanturk plans to phase out all books within five years.

School principal Seamus Buckley said all first-year pupils entering the school in the autumn will use iPads and ebooks for their education.

He acknowledged some parents might have difficulty paying for iPads, which currently retail at €497 each.

“We have negotiated very attractive terms with the local credit union for them,” Mr Buckley said. “Parents will be able to pay back a loan for them over three years with the interest rate of just 4%.”

He said the school plans to talk to, and assist in some way, parents who may have a difficulty funding the new equipment.

“Things are changing so fast and children are becoming more familiar with, and are using, smart phones and tablets such as iPhones, iPods and iPads on a regular basis,” Mr Buckley said. “Studies have shown they learn much better from interactive media.”

The other benefit is pupils will not have to carry around weighty textbooks. Osteopaths and chiropractors continually claim loaded down schoolbags are bad for children’s health. Generally, an iPad weighs only 1.3lbs (600g).

“A child should only carry 10% of their body weight,” Mr Buckley said. “In practice, many are carrying 33%, and back problems may result in later life.”

The initiative, according to Mr Buckley, will also prepare students for hi-tech jobs.

Meanwhile, Mr Buckley emphasised educational book publishers have put significant time and effort into the development of ebooks, and virtually all Junior Cycle books are now available digitally.

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