Saturday, 26 March 2016

Luddites take over at Sydney Grammar

One of Australia's most 'prestigious' private schools has taken a step back from technology and banned laptops in class because they are 'distracting' students.

Sydney Grammar School headmaster John Vallance described the billions of dollars being spent on equipping high school students with laptops as a 'scandalous waste of money'.

He argued that grades are gradually dropping across the country despite the investment, according to The Australian.

The headmaster has banned all students at the Darlinghurst boys school from bringing laptops to school and said all pupils must submit handwritten assignments until year 10.

The headmaster said the return to old-school teaching was to increase teacher-student relationships as laptops are a distraction in the classroom. 
'(Teaching is) about interaction between people, about discussion, about conversation,' Dr Vallance said in the report.
'We find that having laptops or iPads in the classroom inhibit conversation — it's distracting.
'If you're lucky enough to have a good teacher and a motivating group of classmates, it would seem a waste to introduce anything that's going to be a distraction from the benefits that kind of social context will give you.'

Dr Vallance said multi-billion dollar investment by the federal government to provide laptops to high school students had done nothing but to benefit tech-giants Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Apple.
'I think when people come to write the history of this period in education … this investment in classroom technology is going to be seen as a huge fraud.' 
Dr Vallance said the school studied classes for students in years three and five and found creative writing tasks were more successful with handwritten submissions, rather than using a keyboard. 
Sydney Grammar offers access to computers through a lab and students are expected to use laptops at home.

Families are charged $32,644 in annual tuition fees for each student to attend the private Darlinghurst boys school. 

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