New school quandary for par­ents

South Waikato News - - SPORT / TE PAPA HA¯KINAKINA -

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.

SCHOOL RE­QUIRE­MENT

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.

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