With your grandkids were heading back to school yesterday their bags were crammed with all the back to school necessities on the school book list.
But one expensive item on that list is becoming more and more common.
It is a far cry from the days of Perkin’s paste, a few exercise books and a tin lunchbox containing a vegemite sandwich.
With a price list for school recommended laptops starting at over $1000, some nearly $4000, it is a pricey addition to the start of the year, where new shoes and uniforms are also often needed after a good holiday growth spurt.
Not all schools are on board with the idea though.
Last year Sydney Grammar School, for example, banned the use of laptops on the belief the technology distracted from old-school teaching.
However, most Australian schools are embracing the technology and have said the use of laptops enhances their curriculum program and improves student learning with the increased assess to digital tools and learning resources available.
Technology is not going away.
With the introduction to more and more inventions changing the way we do everyday things it is becoming essential students are exposed to it as part of their learning experience.
Forget the old blackboard.
These days it is commonplace, especially in primary school, for interactive whiteboards to be the focus of a students attention.
No notes sent home to mum for signing.
Parents log into a parent lounge online, not only to read an email about their students academic performance but also to keep track of their upcoming assignments and homework, as well as a calendar of school events.
No more cutting up magazines and gluing content onto poster board for a class project.
These days kids are doing animated powerpoint presentations and do all their research without going anywhere near a Britannica Encyclopaedia.
At least there is no need to go carting home a school bag overloaded with textbooks.
Anything that could possibly be needed for research can be found easily online.
Technology provides a more flexible way for students to learn too, offering interactive options and applications for those with specific learning difficulties or disabilities.
There is, however, the opportunity for students to misuse the technology too, by accessing programs not part of the curriculum.
After all, where there is a will, there is a way.
It will be hard to disconnect little Johnny from the wi-fi as punishment when he say’s he needs it to do his homework.
The Rudd-Gillard government used taxpayer funds to buy laptops for students in a $2.4 billion Digital Education Revolution program.
This was discontinued at the end of 2013, after seven years.
It was then that a Bring Your Own Device policy was implemented in many schools.
There is some belief, however, that with increased learning via technology some of the old ways of learning will disappear.
Interactive computer games replacing class activities, tutors and reading assistants volunteering via Skype and lessons given via pre-recorded videos.
They are not fanciful ideas. They are happening in classrooms around the world already.
The times, they are a changin’.
Do you agree students need laptops for 21st century learning? Share some of your favourite memories from the playground.