Concern over use of tablets in schools

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The Association of Teachers and Lecturers has expressed concern that the growing use of tablet computers in schools is distracting pupils from their work and enabling them to access inappropriate material.

The union is launching a report which highlights widespread concern among teachers and parents over the potential for tablets to distract pupils and to enable them to access inappropriate material when used in school and for homework.

The report is based on the results of an online survey which canvassed the views of 376 teaching staff and parents from across Northern Ireland, most of whom had educational tablet experience.

The survey found that:

• More than four-fifths (82%) of respondents believed that pupils could get distracted by other activities they could carry out on the tablet, such as gaming or messaging, if tablets were used for homework.

• 72% believed that pupils could get distracted in a similar way when using tablets in the classroom.

• Nearly two-thirds (64%) of teaching staff with educational tablet experience believed there was at least some risk that pupils would access inappropriate material when using tablets in the classroom.

The ATL’s Northern Ireland Director, Mark Langhammer, said: “We’re calling on the Department to review the available evidence and to issue some firm guidance to schools. As things stand, there’s a serious risk that the education and wellbeing of thousands of children could be compromised if the concerns highlighted in this survey prove to be justified.”

e-Learning Update
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