Schools head hails 'magic' of learning via smartphone

Traditional textbooks will disappear in the age of electronic devices, says Girls Schools' chief

The death of classroom textbooks is predicted today by the new leader of the country's top girls' schools. In future, pupils will access texts through smartphones and e-readers, Louise Robinson, the incoming president of the Girls' Schools Association, said in her first interview.

"Taking on board the fact that textbooks will be on your mobile, whatever shape, name or type of fruit your mobile relates to... anywhere, any time, any place – it's a huge possibility," she said. Pupils could learn more from the "magic" of using smartphones and tablets than from simply reading a book, she argued.

In addition, they can access information in advance of lessons. "If you say: 'The next lesson is going to be on the skeleton', what you can see online now in terms of the skeleton and where you can go with it makes children have far more control over their learning that they ever could do before. One click and you're into another world," she added.

However, children would have to be taught how to access information properly online, she cautioned. "You and I wouldn't send a child into a library and say 'Go and have a look'," Mrs Robinson said. "You'd actually help them, show them where the information is to access and which bits they should be looking at for their age and stage."

She continued: "When you see a young child on their tablet, or internet, the magic they are seeing in that information, the way that they absorb it and reflect it back at you is just wonderful."

Mrs Robinson, who is head of Merchant Taylors' Girls' School in Crosby, Liverpool, added: "I can understand the concept that there's the real smell of a very old book – I'm not going to throw them on the bonfire at all. I do believe that there will be a time and a place for going to look at an old book – but when you're doing class reading, why buy the hard copy?"

Seemingly unafraid of causing controversy in her new position, Mrs Robinson said she thought the AS-level exam would become increasingly irrelevant if students were able to apply to university after they had received their A-level results. Proposals to move towards applying post-results were outlined by UCAS earlier this year. The new system could be in force as early as 2016.

Mrs Robinson said that at present universities often scrutinise AS-level results because they are the only hard information available post-GCSE of a student's ability. "From a student's point of view, AS-levels are good in terms of a break in learning, and for finding out halfway through whether they're on target," she said.

"What I'm not so clear on is why universities are placing so much credibility on AS results. We are spending an awful lot of time making sure they do as well as possible in those exams.

"If we are going to move to post-qualification applications, it would take away not quite the need but the emphasis on AS-level results, and it would mean that we wouldn't have to spend so much time preparing for them," she added.

The Girls' Schools Association represents most of the country's leading independent girls' schools.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
Baroness Lane-Fox warned that large companies such as have become so powerful that governments and regulators are left behind
techTech giants have left governments and regulators behind
News
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
news
Life and Style
'Prison Architect' players decide the fate of inmates
tech
Life and Style
A picture taken on February 11, 2014 at people walking at sunrise on the Trocadero Esplanade, also known as the Parvis des droits de l'homme (Parvis of Human Rights), in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
  • Get to the point
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.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Imperial College London: Safety Training Administrator

£25,880 – £28,610 per annum: Imperial College London: Imperial College London ...

University College London: Client Platform Support Officer

£26,976 - £31,614 per annum: University College London: UCL Information Servic...

Guru Careers: Instructional Designer / e-Learning Designer

£30 - 32k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking an Instructional / e-Learning De...

Recruitment Genius: Schools Education & Careers Executive

£30500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Schools Education & Careers Executive ...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor