“Future Perfect” Plans in place for Northwood to go Digital in 2014

Teaching goes digital with ebooks, tablets.

By Leanne Jansen, The Mercury

Pupils at Northwood School in Durban North are to be among the first in the country to have digital versions of their textbooks.

From next year, the boys will be able to watch physics experiments come to life and complete their maths assignments on e-books downloaded on tablets, by logging on to the school’s wi-fi every morning.

For headmaster Paul McAvoy, who was appointed earlier this year, introducing e-books is the fulfillment of a promise to incorporate more technology in the classroom.

McAvoy explained that teachers would display the contents of the e-books using their projector or touch screen smart boards, and could add their content to the original.

“At R70 for a one-year licence (for the e-book), it is substantially cheaper than the hard copy, which would cost R137,” McAvoy said.

“There’ll be no more excuses from the boys such as ‘My friend has my book’, ‘I’ve lost my notes’ or ‘I was absent when you gave us that’.

“We also get around the problem of publishers not having stock.”

In the science laboratory, hands shot up when Grade 10 pupils were asked whether they would like to lighten their school bags.

Science teacher Sharon Reddy said that after the touch screen smart board had been introduced into her classroom, more of the boys had scored distinctions because they were able to see concepts take on colour and shape.

“Having the curriculum move and live instead of being static in a textbook makes a huge difference in the ways they understand concepts,” she said.

However, McAvoy has also considered the possible problems with rolling out e-books in every grade.

“It will be optional,” he said.

“Boys who want to use the tablets will be able to, those who choose not to or cannot afford to won’t.

“But there are savings in terms of textbook costs.

“Teachers will also have to have proper control measures to check that the tablets aren’t used to send e-mails or play games during class time.”

– The Mercury

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