Monday, 8 February 2016

The power of tablets

Tablets vie with text books as school year begins

Research released by Telstra estimates that more than a million children will take high-tech devices to school this term.

The research suggests that 1.3 million households with school-aged children have at least one tablet, and that 62 per cent of these tablet owners purchased at least one tablet for education purposes.

The research surveyed 500 respondents, comprising 100 teachers and 400 parents of school aged children 5-17 years old, and extrapolated from this using Australia Bureau of Statistics data.

"With 75 per cent of the fastest-growing occupations set to require science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills, increasing kids' digital literacy can help equip them with the skills they will likely need for their future, including computational, systems and design-thinking skills that can also be transferred into other aspects of life," says Shelly Gorr​, a senior adviser in Telstra's Digital Inclusion team.

However, while 71 per cent of parents believe their child's education has benefited from tablet access, parents are often concerned that their children are spending hours in front of screens, passively consuming content, the research finds.

The increasing use of technology in the classroom is adding significantly to families' back-to-school expenses, the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) warns.

"More and more schools are now asking parents to purchase personal iPads for their children to use in the classroom, which can cost families between $500 to $1000, significantly increasing families' back-to-school costs," VCOSS chief executive Emma King says.

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