Tablets rule at school

19:47, Aug 06 2012
MOVING FORWARD: Shannon Spray of Henderson High School is among students who have spent the year testing the efficiency of having a laptop at school.

Pen and paper will play second fiddle to the tablet next year as Henderson High School takes a giant leap into the future of technology.

All year 9 students will be issued with their own computer tablets, laptop-type devices similar in size to a piece of A4 paper.

It's hoped all 600 students within the school will follow suit within two years.

A few other schools across Auckland have encouraged pupils to bring laptops or smartphones to use in class, but principal Mike Purcell is thrilled his will be the first in West Auckland to implement the initiative.

"It's the way of the future and we need to get on to it as soon as possible if we want to show students and their parents that we're serious about getting them ahead and preparing them for the future," Mr Purcell says.

"Technology is constantly being upgraded which has made us eager to get this going as soon as we can so our school doesn't miss out on opportunities.


"Each year the stationery list reduces and the internet plays a greater part in all academic programmes," he says.

The school has spent two years testing the efficiency and effectiveness of a notebook laptop with year 9 students and is ready to take the next step.

It plans to subsidise each device to make them more affordable. How much each family will be expected to pay towards the tablets is yet to be decided.

"This is a great opportunity for parents to get in touch with their child's learning as machines like this make it much easier for kids to show their parents what they're working on, how it works and what they're learning," Mr Purcell says.

The change will mean kids will no longer have excuses for not having their work at school says head of PE Sheldon Revell.

"There'll be no more ‘dog ate my homework' lines and no more ‘I left my work at home' because it'll always be on your computer," he says.

Mr Revell says the use of the new tablets won't be restricted to maths, science and English classes. They'll be needed in PE too.

Students are able to look up diagrams of the human body, highlight the areas they're discussing in class and research even more.

They can also record themselves swinging a golf club, line it up with a video of famous US golfer Tiger Woods swinging and and compare angles.

"The possibilities really are endless," he says.

"We have to move with the times and this is the way to go if we want to keep pupils engaged and motivated."

Mr Purcell won't disclose the cost of the upgrade but says they'll be keeping the purse strings tight without sacrificing quality.

"The kids themselves have got to see change and they've got to believe the school is a good place to be. We've got to make sure the physical environment supports that."

Students will soon be able to go into the library and download books on to their tablet.

Mr Purcell also hopes to install charging stations to ensure students never run out of battery.

Western Leader