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School to hand out e-textbooks

Students to swot by smartphone

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A London school’s pencilled in plans to ditch old-style textbooks because it wants pupils to swot up using mobile phones instead.

The Hackney City Academy, which is due to open in September 2009, plans to put PDF copies of its textbooks onto its intranet, from where pupils can access the books directly from their handsets or laptops. Pupils can then save content and read it as and when they wish.

The school has worked with the University of Aberystwyth and various textbook publishers to help develop and implement e-editions of the required textbooks.

Headmaster Mark Emmerson said the idea’s designed to help reduce the number of pupils carrying heavy book bags around and reduce the school’s textbook costs.

“It will be as simple as downloading a ringtone to a SIM card, something practically all teenagers will now know how to do,” he told the Daily Mail.

He claimed that homework usually only requires reference to one or two pages of a textbook at a time and so pupils won’t need to download vast swathes of data. Presumably pupils won’t be able to use the idea as ammunition for their parents to buy them a 32GB iPod Touch, then.

Traditional paper textbooks may still be available for kids without mobiles, or those who’ve had theirs nicked while reading a school e-book on the bus-ride home. Mobiles won’t be permitted for use during class time either.

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