The Secondary Principals Association says technology such as iPads is the way of the future for schools, and they are likely to become the new textbook.
Orewa College is making it compulsory for all 2012 year 9 students to bring their own computer device to school, saying the preference is for an iPad2.
The decile 9 school says its basic desktop machines are becoming outdated and it can't afford new ones, but the demand for access to technology keeps growing.
It's asking parents to provide new devices, preferably the iPad2 because of its educational applications and longer battery life.
In a letter to parents, principal Kate Shevland says students' learning has been shown to improve with access to their own computing device.
She says the iPad is the most suitable machine for students because it has more battery life than netbooks or laptops, and educational advantages in the applications that can be downloaded.
Replacing books and pens
Secondary Principals Association president Patrick Walsh says most state schools are indicating portable computers are desirable although not many have made it a mandatory requirement yet.
However, Mr Wash says he expects schools will soon move to do so, with the reality being that iPads and iPhones are becoming the new pencil case and textbook.
He says with the Government's rollout of ultra-fast broadband, most schools are taking the view there's no point having that resource unless students can access it.
The association says some schools have set up discreet funds for parents who can't afford to buy the technology immediately.