Book readers, netbooks and other modern devices useful for schoolchildren

From September 1st, an experiment is being launched at eight schools and gymnasiums, with electronic display boards replacing weighty piles of textbooks, freeing pupils from heavy knapsacks and bags

By Yekaterina Malysheva

Will the innovation prove popular? According to specialists, book readers, netbooks and other useful devices can be partially funded from the money usually set aside for printed textbooks, with them easily paying for themselves over the course of the time.

Pupils aged 15-16 years from the BSU Lyceum are to be the first to pilot the project, which is being introduced for a two year period. Of course, most will already be familiar with the technology, and will easily be able to download information. The search facility of the software makes finding relevant pages simple — even quicker than turning the pages of a book. Some wonder how 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade pupils at Novopolotsk’s state general education gymnasium will get on with their netbooks but Anna Novikova, a teacher of history and the gymnasium’s curriculum secretary, sees no problems from a technical point of view.

“They will certainly understand how to download literature, together with their parents,” she notes. “Already, many have computers at home and our 2nd and 3rd grade pupils have also attended computer classes this year. However, we’ll soon see from the experiment whether these devices can completely replace books.”

Yuri Gladkov, the Head of the Education Ministry’s Department for General Secondary Education, underlines that it’s vital to gain feedback from parents, teachers and pupils before launching these devices countrywide. The convenience must be taken into consideration, as must the wisdom of giving younger children expensive hardware. Some wonder whether the monitors might strain their eyes. If all goes well, the complete amount of budget funding needed will be calculated, to give every pupil equal access to electronic display boards and netbooks. If these devices were bought immediately, a million would be needed for schoolchildren alone.

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