Yesterday, he watched as his granddaughter Jade enrolled at Coláiste Treasa in Kanturk, Co Cork, armed with an iPad.
She was one of 91 first-year pupils provided with the tablet computer which will be phased in for all pupils at the North Cork school over the next few years.
Veronica Walsh, acting deputy principal, said it was hoped the hi-tech learning tool would get students more interested in subjects.
The iPad has been credited in Britain with helping to increase grades in many schools.
“Our principal, Seamus Buckley, thought it was a good idea to introduce them. They cost €400 each and the local credit union offered very good terms for parents to purchase them. Some of the students even paid for their own, out of their confirmation money,” said Ms Walsh.
There were a number of advantages to using iPads, she said.
“Firstly the students avoid having to carry weighty schoolbooks around. Some bags can weigh up to 25kg. Instead they have access to an app called edcodigital which contains all the text books they will need for the next three years.
“There are 140,000 apps — and the figure is growing — on the app store, many of which are free. They can use them for learning languages and many other subjects. They’re very savvy using them. They’re the hi-tech generation and the world is now their oyster.”
Jade Sheehan, 13, said: “It’s my first time using one and it’s very good. We now only have to carry around copy books which is a great help.”
Her grandfather, who is in his 70s, went to the same school 55 years ago.
He said: “We were lucky to have a book and a pencil back then. There was also no such thing as school transport back then either. I had to cycle six miles to school and six miles back. You have to go with the times and some children, now, are lifting schoolbags a grown-up could hardly tackle.”
* Read more:
Bus rule changes cost parents hundreds of euro
Online book company accused of ‘blatant lies’
Parents told their crying could be contagious