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Sunday, April 10, 2016
Computers in class ‘a scandalous waste’:The headmaster of Sydney Grammar School
A top Australian school has banned laptops in class, warning that technology “distracts’’ from old-school quality teaching.
The headmaster of Sydney Grammar School, John Vallance, yesterday described the billions of dollars spent on computers in Australian schools over the past seven years as a “scandalous waste of money’’.
“I’ve seen so many schools with limited budgets spending a disproportionate amount of their money on technology that doesn’t really bring any measurable, or non-measurable, benefits,’’ he said.
“Schools have spent hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars on interactive whiteboards, digital projectors, and now they’re all being jettisoned.’’
Sydney Grammar has banned students from bringing laptops to school, even in the senior years, and requires them to handwrite assignments and essays until Year 10. Its old-school policy bucks the prevailing trend in most Australian high schools, and many primary schools, to require parents to purchase laptops for use in the classroom.
Dr Vallance said the Rudd-Gillard government’s $2.4 billion Digital Education Revolution, which used taxpayer funds to buy laptops for high school students, was money wasted. “It didn’t really do anything except enrich Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard and Apple,’’ he said. “They’ve got very powerful lobby influence in the educational community.’’