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."

News
people

Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian and Noel Fielding backstage at the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts
musicKasabian and Noel Fielding attack 'boring' musicians
News
videoWatch Lynda Bellingham's tragic final Loose Women appearance
Arts and Entertainment
The last great picture - Winner 'Black and White' and overall 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year'
art
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
people

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
High notes, flat performance: Jake Bugg
music

Review: Despite an uphill climb to see Jake Bugg in action, his performance is notably flat

News
The Putin automaton will go on sale next month in Germany
videoMusical Putin toy showing him annexing Crimea could sell for millions
News
news

Powerful images of strays taken moments before being put down

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
S Club 7 pose for Children in Need 2001
music
Arts and Entertainment
'Right Here' singer Jess Glynne is nominated for Best Newcomer at the MOBO Awards 2014
musicExclusive: Jess Glynne hits out at 'ridiculous' criticism of white artists nominated for Mobo Awards
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voices

Arts and Entertainment
Russell Brand has written a book of political analysis called Revolution
books

Review: Witty banalities aside, the comedian has an authentic voice

Arts and Entertainment
Separated at birth? Frank Sivero (left) claims The Simpsons based Mafia character Louie on his Goodfellas character
arts + entsFrank Sivero sues Simpsons studio over allegedly basing mobster character on Frank Carbone
News
Carl Bernstein (left) and Bob Woodward (right) with former 'Washington Post' executive editor Ben Bradlee
people

The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    IT Support Analyst - London - £22,000

    £20000 - £22000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chel...

    Database Administrator

    £300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: The role could involve w...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - SThree Group - Leeds

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: SThree Group has been...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - SThree Group - Bristol

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: SThree Group has been...

    Day In a Page

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

    Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

    Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
    Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

    Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

    Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

    UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London