They might not be in the shops yet but that hasn’t stopped Redoubt North School successfully introducing iPads to staff and students. Phil Toomer explains how.
How did you get your hands on some iPads?
We purchased a couple on TradeMe and trialled them with both the staff and students. After evaluating its success, we purchased a group set. There are now 15 in total being used in classes around the school with excellent engagement at all levels.
Why the iPad?
We had some experience with Apple’s iPhone and we were very impressed with its functions. From this, it wasn’t hard to assume that the iPads would be highly useful in classes.
What are your first impressions of the device?
One of the iPads’ greatest features is its simplicity. The touch screen capability eliminates the need for a keyboard and mouse, which makes the device incredibly mobile in a classroom. The device also holds its charge longer than a standard laptop meaning there isn’t the need to run a charger to the machine from a power point throughout the day. The user friendly-interface means students from all ages can use each of the applications with a touch of a fingertip.
How are you implementing the use of iPads?
They are used as a group set in classes to enhance the lessons. Like any ICT resource, it is used as a tool for learning, rather than the focus of a lesson. They are, therefore, used in classes just as any of our other laptops are. The Year 7 and 8 intermediate students are involved in a tech tutor programme with the younger students of the school. The senior students work with a group of junior students on the iPads to reinforce their maths and literacy learning.
How has the learning been enhanced?
The iPad is compatible with applications that are distributed through the app store. Publishing applications such as ‘Pages’ and digital ‘QBooks’, from Kiwa Media, are just two of the many applications available to enhance the classroom programme. With the Pages application, students have been able to word process their work and email it to a printing centre. The Internet and photo applications that come with the iPad have enhanced the students’ research abilities as they are able to find information quickly from their desk.
What are your future plans for using iPads?
Once they are released in New Zealand we will look into purchasing more. With the Apple store adding new learning applications by the day, there is no limit to how successful the devices will prove to be.
Phil Toomer is Deputy Principal at Redoubt North School.
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