School Bans iPads, Brings Back Paper Textbooks

March 6, 2020 at 4:30 pm

A top performing school ditches digital textbooks, claiming kid’s learn better the old fashioned way

A prestigious school in Australia is doing away with iPads five years after purchasing them for its students.

Kids comprehend and retain more, when they read from “good old-fashioned” paper textbooks, the private school’s principal says.

The iPads students were using to read their e-textbooks also served as windows to worlds of distraction, he claims.

“They had messages popping up and all sorts of other alerts,” Reddam House principal Dave Pitcairn told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“Also, kids being kids, they could jump between screens quite easily, so would look awfully busy and not be busy at all.”

It’s not only principals and parents applauding the move back to hard-copy textbooks – students prefer them too.

As part of a 5-year trial, the school had given 1st through 10th graders iPads, but reverted back to paper textbooks in 11th and 12th grade.

After have experienced both, most high school students preferred paper over electronic textbooks.

“The ease of navigation through the textbook was easier with the hard copy,” Pitcairn said. “I believe they learn better the more faculties they use, the more senses they use in research and reading and making notes.”

A 2017 study out of the University of Maryland finds students were better able to answer specific questions from printed text rather than digital text.

Research into why young people prefer hard-copy textbooks “points to greater perceived comfort, comprehension, and also retention of what’s been read,” says Margaret Merga, education professor at Edith Cowan University.

“Some have found that there’s less immersive involvement in digital text.”