August 26, 2014 1:05 am
Updated: August 26, 2014 7:45 am

Pricey gadgets on school supply lists have some parents concerned


WATCH ABOVE: Gone are the days of pencils, paper and notebooks. School supplies lists are being lengthier, and with more high-tech gadgets, more costly. Laurel Gregory explains.

EDMONTON – More and more high-tech gadgets are making their way into Edmonton classrooms. And some parents are being asked to foot the bill.

Tina Stach is a single mother of four school-aged children. iPads or tablets are listed on school supply lists for three of her children — an expense she expects to run several hundred dollars.

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“I was shocked! I’m like, ‘what, I can’t afford this,” she said.

When asked where else that money could go, Stach says “in the fridge: food.”

According to her kids, the devices are necessary for daily assignments.

Edmonton Public and Catholic Schools say students whose parents cannot afford the gadgets will not go without. Edmonton Public Schools, for example, has 16,000 Chromebooks, or lightweight laptops, within the district.

But education technology consultant Rick Stiles-Oldring, with Edmonton Public Schools, says handing technology over to kids can also be tricky.

“What happens if we’re buying the technology with public dollars and the kid is breaking it, who’s responsible for it? I mean it gets really, really complicated really fast,” he said.

“So we have to find some middle ground, which is why we had the balance of this ‘bring your own device.'”

The spokesperson for Edmonton Catholic Schools says that while technology can enhance learning, it does not make getting the devices a requirement.

“On a school supply list we will let the parents know that if there’s an iPad or laptop that the child wants to bring to school, that’s great. But we never say it’s necessary, or they have to have one.”

Unclear whether their schools will have adequate supplies for them, some of the Stach kids are trying to help ease the burden of the cost.

“I’m trying to get a job,” said 14-year-old Jennifer, “to help with things.”

-With files from Laurel Gregory, Global News

© 2014 Shaw Media

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