The days of back-breaking bags are gone as over 400 students replace books with tablet devices for the coming school year in St Mary’s CBS, Portlaoise.
Over 140 incoming first year students received their ‘digital’ schoolbags on Thursday August 14, joining over 300 students in 2nd and 3rd year who are already using Apple iPads.
The move is part of a new learning programme by Wriggle, enabling schools to transform their teaching and learning environments through new technology.
Wriggle controls the usage, preventing social media during school hours.
Parents purchase the iPad themselves, and an online bookshop is created by Wriggle.
Principal Maura Murphy said that introducing this technology into the school prepares students for college.
“The choice to use books is still there, and the school’s book rental scheme is still in place, but we want our children to keep up with the times.
“The iPad allows them to branch out, using the internet. They can do their homework, put projects and presentations together easily, and be ready for the requirements of third level,” she told the Leinster Express.
St Mary’s CBS Portlaoise is one of the 80 schools throughout the country that have implemented the programme.
5th and 6th year students will still use traditional textbook for now, but the school is looking into changing that.
“We will have to look at 5th and 6th year now. Students might not want to go back to books, there could be a riot!” she said.
Ms Murphy said that it had been a pleasure to work with Wriggle over the past two years, encountering very few problems.
“The enhanced learning opportunities this offers students of all learning styles and abilities is what makes this initiative so worthwhile,” she said.