New school quandary for parents
Pupils around the country head back to school soon and this year many of them will be carrying a device in their bags.
Increasingly, intermediate and high schools are asking parents to provide their children with a laptop or tablet, but the options available to parents can be confusing.
Schools are keen to stay at the cutting edge of teaching methods but parents face paying from $400 to $1500 for each child.
So what’s the best device for your child?
Here are some tips to help you decide. TABLETS A tablet has many advantages, including being light to carry and intuitive to use.
Tablets weigh about less than a kilogramme and won’t burden children already carrying a book- laden bag. It is also cheap to buy a protective case to ensure your investment doesn’t end up cracked and dented.
The other advantage of tablets is the ease of which children take to them. It is more natural for kids to use their fingers to open apps and push around elements than a mouse.
However, the top reason why tablets are so popular is the number of apps available.
Both the Apple and Android stores offer thousands of education apps to help children with writing, spelling, drawing, geography or any other school activity.
The one perceived drawback is the keyboard. While parents are used to a physical keyboard and may find typing on a screen slower, kids will adapt and be able type without a problem.
If your child does have trouble, you could buy a keyboard to snap magnetically with your device and act as a cover. LAPTOPS One of the main things to consider is size. No-one wants their child lugging around a heavy 15-inch laptop all day so try and stick to the smaller 11 or 13- inch models.
There is also the balance of getting something affordable and getting something that will last for several years.
Unless your child is into video-editing, most laptops on the market will have enough grunt for them to do their school work.
Another key consideration is battery life. Getting a laptop that lasts more than five hours means your child doesn’t need to lug around a charger.
The first thing to do before buying a device is to check with schools about their requirements.
Most schools offer support for any device so parents aren’t locked in to buying a high-end brand. However, some schools may ask for you to buy a specific tablet or laptop.
Many schools overseas are buying bulk orders of devices and distributing them to pupils, but that trend doesn’t seem to be catching on in New Zealand.
HIGH TECH: More schools are asking parents to buy their children a tablet for school.