Catholic education institutions have confirmed plans to introduce the iPad as a learning tool for students.
The Parramatta Catholic Education Office has revealed St Aidan’s Primary School in Rooty Hill will be the first in its diocese to implement Apple’s new tablet in a classroom environment. A number of schools, including Our Lady Queen of Peace Primary School in Greystanes, have also expressed interest in adopting the iPad and begun making inquiries.
St. Aidan’s is already familiar with Apple technology and has 90 Macbooks actively being used by students. St Aidan’s principal, Dr Elizabeth Ricketts, owns her own iPad and was determined to push the device as a literary learning aid. Free and paid e-books available on iTunes will be used in reading exercises.
“The device is very portable for small reading groups and it’s nice to hold one in your hand rather than to read a book on a laptop,” Dr Ricketts told ARN.
Ten iPads were initially assigned to one classroom, and teachers from different grades were asked to provide submissions on how their classes would utilise the device. Orders for the iPad were placed through authorised Apple reseller, Mac 1, which supplies Apple products to the Parramatta Catholic Education Office exclusively.
After receiving three submissions, Dr Ricketts ordered 20 more. Year 3, 5 and 6 have been approved to receive the tablets.
“One of the great benefits is – because we’re a school – we can sync all the iPads to one iTunes account and have multiple copies of books or other applications that can be used by all the children,” Dr Ricketts said.
“It’s not a toy – I can’t abide in people thinking of it as a toy – and it’s not just for games,” Dr Ricketts said. “They’re a tool but they can never replace a teacher.
“Kids today can’t sit and just use pen and paper – they’re just not used to that. So in order to engage them fully, you have to give them the tools they’re used to.”
The tablets are being paid for by a variety of sources including funding raised through fundraisers and the National Partnership Program for Literacy. Dr Ricketts expected the first batch of tablets to arrive very soon.
The Sydney Catholic Education Office also expressed interest in the iPad and has ordered some to be trialled by its communications, electronic education and technical units.
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