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Back-To-School Checklist: Pens, Paper And An iPad

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It’s only July but already parents and kids are gearing up for a new school year. In Auckland, some families are thinking not only about lunches and back-to-school wardrobe but also how they’re going to dish out $800 for an iPad – a compulsory new item on at least one school’s standard supply list.

Beginning next year, all Year 9 students (aged 13) at Orewa College must have their own notebook or laptop, and the school is strongly recommending it be a top of the line iPad 2, which retails for around $800, reports The New Zealand Herald. An information sheet was provided on how parents can purchase the device and included advice on starting a savings plan.

Many parents are in a tizzy over the new rule, arguing that the cost is excessive for many of the school’s modest-income families. The school itself said it could not afford the new machines yet demand for access to technology keeps on growing. “What we want is one-to-one access to technology, access to the internet as needed, when needed,” parents were told in a letter. “We can’t afford to do that by ourselves. We need your help.”

Of course, for every parent flipping out over this new demand is another one applauding the school for being so cutting edge. Lots of people, including the school’s principal, say other school will surely follow suit. And I don’t disagree. When it comes to embracing technology in the classroom once kids reach a certain age, I’m all for it. Just as cursive writing is becoming obsolete, technology is only growing and will continue to grow. If we want to empower our children and equip them with skills to use out there in the real world, we need to teach them to be tech-savvy (second to being good people with strong morals). The cost of all this technology, however, is a big imposition on many families and, to me, that’s the real issue.

(Photo: apple.com)