Tablets: a hindrance or a help?

Tom Bennett recently claimed that tablets should be taken out of the classroom. Is he right?

In The Sunday Times, new school behavior tsar Bennett is quoted: “Schools are increasingly giving kids iPads, even primary schools. I am not a fan of that. There is absolutely no research evidence that giving kids technology helps them learn. 

“Some people say, ‘Give kids iPads because they love them and then they will love learning too.’ No, kids love iPads, that’s all. From my point of view they are used far too often as a pacifier by teachers who can’t control classes.” 

Bennett was appointed in June to help teachers improve discipline and disruption, following years of teaching in London schools. He has written books on behaviour and believes technology is not an aid to education. His views may not match those of schools, as more turn to interactive technology to keep students engaged. However, technology is not axiomatically the path to better teaching – schools need a model for effective edtech use

So, are iPads really an invaluable teaching aid for the 21st century or are they just a distraction? Melland High School, a special educational needs academy in Manchester, recognises the huge benefits to student progression that the use of tablets has and considers them an important resource. Principal Sue Warner says: “When you’re educating students with special educational needs, the use of tablets and other digital learning tools can be extremely useful. A traditional ‘pen and paper’ education isn’t always appropriate and we’ve found that we’re able to increase independence and self-confidence amongst our students by utilising new technology.

“One of the most exciting ways we utilise tablets at the school is through augmented reality projects that allow the students to view the process behind one another’s work. Similar to QR codes, students can hold their tablet up to displays on the wall, which then loads up a video or extra information about the project. 

“Helping SEN students reach their academic potential necessitates that we tailor how they learn to their individual needs, so we believe tablets are an extremely effective resource for progression.” 

Does using tablet devices help in your classrooms, or do they distract pupils? Let us know at    

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