Smartphones and handheld computers: the new battleground in UK schools
Experts say they are essential for the UK to keep pace economically; others worry about their effect on discipline.
Children's learning could "hugely improve" if all pupils were given smartphones to use in the classroom, technology experts say but, instead, the UK risks falling behind because "the government doesn't seem that interested in it".
Research shows that in many areas, the majority of pupils own a smartphone, but many schools ban the devices and the National Association of Head Teachers says they hold "potential for mischief and distraction".
Earlier this year, a secondary school in Kent became the first in the country to equip each of its 1,400 pupils with an Apple iPad tablet computer. Longfield academy near Dartford said the iPads would help pupils' learning. Honywood community school in Coggeshall, near Colchester in Essex, has also invested in 1,200 iPads for its pupils. Some schools, such as the Oldershaw academy in Wallasey on Merseyside, have created their own app so parents can check, via their mobiles, what homework their children have been set.
Miles Berry, a senior lecturer in the use of technology in education at the University of Roehampton, said schools needed to "capture the vast amount of informal learning going on outside the classroom".
"The ability to access all the world's information from a handheld device is transformative for learning and would make a huge difference to children's learning from late primary school onwards," he said.
Read more ... (The Guardian - 30 October)