iPads replacing note pads as Asian schools go high-tech

Apple's iPad and other tablet computers are replacing traditional note pads in some Asian schools and making the lives of thousands of students a whole lot easier.

Soon pupils could be reading on their tablets about a quaint old communication device called "paper", especially in Asia's advanced economies where many schools are racing towards a paperless classroom.

The slim glass slabs slip easily into a bag and can store thousands of textbooks, making a fat school bag full of heavy books, pens and notepads a thing of the past.

"I like the iPad because it is portable and we do not have to carry so many bags and files around," said 13-year-old Nicole Ong, who now makes notes on her iPad during class at Nanyang Girls' High School in Singapore.

A sample group of more than 120 students and 16 teachers at the school have been given iPads, at a cost of over $100,000. By 2013, every student in the school will have one.

The number of software applications - or apps - that can be used for educational purposes on tablet computers is set to explode.

It's a brand new business that even media mogul Rupert Murdoch has identified as an area of huge potential growth.

Murdoch said his News Corp group is to push into the education technology market in a speech to the e-G8 conference of Internet entrepreneurs and European policymakers in Paris last month.

He described education as the "last holdout from the digital revolution" and outlined a vision for personalised learning with lessons delivered by the world's best teachers to thousands of students via the Internet.

"Today's classroom looks almost exactly the same as it did in the Victorian age," Murdoch added.

But many Asian schools are already way ahead of the game.

"No longer is language learning solely based on the teacher commenting on students' works - classmates can feedback on one another," said Seah Hui Yong, curriculum dean of Nanyang.

Rene Yeo, head of the information technology department at Tampines Secondary School, also in Singapore, teaches science with his iPad. His students learn factorisation by simply moving the numbers around on the screen.

They also read about animal cells and the human brain structure by clicking on the various parts. And tablet computers make the double helix structure of a human DNA practically come to life before a student's eyes.

There are apps to learn English and maths, pupils can do cause and effect analysis on iBrainstorm, prepare for oral exams and speeches with AudioNote and even strum the guitar for a music lesson on GarageBand.

The rise of classroom technology will mirror its rise throughout society, says Sam Han, a US-based expert on the role of technology in education.

Han, instructional technology fellow at the Macaulay Honors College, City University of New York, said he expects some Asian countries to leapfrog the West.

"While the Internet was birthed in the US, Singapore and South Korea (for example) boast far greater broadband Internet access penetration and infrastructure than the US," he said.

Japan's communications ministry has given tablets to more than 3,000 under-12 pupils at 10 elementary schools and even fitted classrooms with interactive electronic blackboards under the so-called "future school" pilot project.

In South Korea, where schools have WiFi zones, the education ministry has been testing 'digital textbooks' in some schools since 2007. In 2012, the ministry says it will decide whether to supply tablets to schools nationwide.

Singapore has a hugely competitive education system known for its high level of science and mathematics instruction. The education ministry provides a grant for schools to buy this kind of equipment, as well as software and services.

Many schools already have WiFi, making it easy for students to connect to the Internet.

But some teachers acknowledged there are students who get distracted by playing games or surfing Facebook and other social media sites like Twitter.

Education psychologist Qiu Lin cautioned against schools getting carried away and promoting the blind use of technological devices, and neglecting the real goals of education.

"The trend of integrating technology into education will definitely increase," said the assistant professor at Nanyang Technological University, which is separate from the high school.

"But after one month when the novelty of iPads wears down, a good curriculum and teaching materials that can increase deep thinking and problem solving in students need to be in place."

VIDEO
Arts & Entertainment
tv
News
Matthew Mcnulty and Jessica Brown Findlay in 'Jamaica Inn'
mediaHundreds complain over dialogue levels in period drama
News
peopleJay Z and Beyoncé to buy £5.5m London townhouse
Voices
voicesMoyes' tragedy is one the Deputy PM understands all too well, says Matthew Norman
Arts & Entertainment
Rocker of ages: Chuck Berry
musicWhy do musicians play into old age?
Arts & Entertainment
With Jo Joyner in 'Trying Again'
tvHe talks to Alice Jones on swapping politics for pillow talk
News
Jilly's jewels: gardener Alan Titchmarsh
peopleCountry Life magazine's list of 'gallant' public figures throws light on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern world
Sport
John Terry goes down injured in the 70th minute
sportAtletico Madrid 0 Chelsea 0: Blues can finish the job at Stamford Bridge, but injuries to Terry and Cech are a concern for Mourinho
Student
student
News
<b>Rebecca Adlington</b>
<br />This, the first British swimmer to win two
Olympic gold medals in 100 years, is the eversmiling
face of the athletes who will, we're
confident, make us all proud at London 2012
peopleRebecca Adlington on 'nose surgery'
Arts & Entertainment
tvJudge for yourself
Life & Style
tech
News
Tough call: is the psychological distress Trott is suffering an illness? (Getty)
healthJonathan Trott and the problems of describing mental illness
Life & Style
23 April 2014: Google marks St George's Day with a drawing depicting England's patron saint slaying a fire-breathing dragon
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Projects Financial Analyst - Global Technology firm

    £55000 - £62000 per annum + outstanding benefits and bonus: Pro-Recruitment Gr...

    Commercial B2B Pricing Specialist - Global Bids and Tenders

    £35000 - £45000 per annum + excellent company benefits : Pro-Recruitment Group...

    Senior Finance Business Partner / Projects Analyst

    £55000 - £67000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Pro-Recruitment Group: Senior Fi...

    SQL DBA Lead Database Administrator (SQL, UNIX, Sybase, T-SQL)

    Negotiable: Harrington Starr: SQL DBA Lead Database Administrator (SQL, UNIX, ...

    Day In a Page

    Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home

    It's not always fun in the sun: Moving abroad does not guarantee happiness

    Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home
    Migrants in Britain a decade on: They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire

    Migrants in Britain a decade on

    They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire
    Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

    Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

    The 'Thick of It' favourite thinks the romcom is an 'awful genre'. So why is he happy with a starring role in Sky Living's new Lake District-set series 'Trying Again'?
    Why musicians play into their old age

    Why musicians play into their old age

    Nick Hasted looks at how they are driven by a burning desire to keep on entertaining fans despite risking ridicule
    How can you tell a gentleman?

    How can you tell a gentleman?

    A list of public figures with gallant attributes by Country Life magazine throws a fascinating light on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern world
    Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

    Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

    The duo behind Asos and Achica have launched a new venture offering haute couture to help make furry companions fashionable
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire
    Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

    Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

    Celebrate St George’s Day with a nice cup of tea. Now you just need to get the water boiled
    Sam Wallace: Why Giggs is perfect fit as Manchester United boss... in the longer term

    Sam Wallace

    Why Ryan Giggs is perfect fit as Manchester United boss... in the longer term
    Renaud Lavillenie: The sky's the limit for this pole vaulter's ambitions

    Renaud Lavillenie: The sky's the limit for this pole vaulter's ambitions

    Having smashed Sergei Bubka's 21-year-old record, the French phenomenon tells Simon Turnbull he can go higher
    Through the screen: British Pathé opens its archives

    Through the screen

    British Pathé opens its archives
    The man behind the papier mâché mask

    Frank Sidebottom

    The man behind the papier mâché mask
    Chris Marker: Mystic film-maker with a Midas touch

    Mystic film-maker with a Midas touch

    Chris Marker retrospective is a revelation
    Boston runs again: Thousands take to the streets for marathon as city honours dead and injured of last year's bombing

    Boston runs again

    Thousands of runners take to the streets as city honours dead of last year
    40 years of fostering and still holding the babies (and with no plans to retire)

    40 years of fostering and holding the babies

    In their seventies and still working as specialist foster parents