British MP urges schools to confiscate iPads, says children use tablet to bully

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A British Conservative Party politician is calling on educators to prohibit the use of, and if necessary confiscate, iPads during daily lessons in a bid to keep students focused on academic pursuits.

Edward Timpson, Minister of State for Vulnerable Children and Families at Department for Education, called for a reduction in iPad use during classes in response to recent concerns that students are using the device to bully one another, reports The Telegraph.

Timpson outlined his plan to fellow Parliament members in a session with the House of Lords Communications Committee. The MP appears to refer to "iPad" as an interchangeable term for any tablet device.

"A problem in a number of schools which we've sought to address is the iPad or the tablet coming into schools and it forming far too much of the school day's activities of children and it being used inappropriately for some of the bullying and harassment that we know sadly goes on the back of it," Timpson said. "That's why we've strengthen the powers of headteachers to confiscate and remove material and so on."

The UK currently lacks regulations on the use of portable devices in educational settings, instead leaving the creation and execution of rules to individual schools. Ongoing studies, including government-funded inquiries, are looking into the effect such devices have on students, the report says.

For example, a study conducted by the London School of Economics suggested schools that banned mobile phones saw test scores increase an average of 6 percent.

For Apple, iPad has in many ways replaced the Mac in the company's quest for a piece of the education market pie. Apple courts public and private institutions in the U.S. by offering bulk device purchase discounts, while at the same time marketing low-cost backend services to easily manage mass deployments.

Most recently, Apple in March launched the Classroom app to help teachers manage, monitor and connect shared student iPads.

A major contender for marketshare in the U.S., Apple's iPad in Education initiative has in large part floundered in other countries. Apple first expanded iBooks Textbooks and the iTunes U Course Manager app to international markets including Europe in 2014, but governments have been slow to adopt the larger holistic iPad hardware/software platform.