May 28, 2012
The Education Department is giving students as young as eight the chance to use iPad 3s to supplement traditional learning.
Year 1 and 2 students at Grovelands Primary School in the eastern Perth suburb of Camillo are among the first children in Western Australia to be able to use iPad 3s in the classroom.
The government has provided nearly 900 iPads for Year 1 and 2 classes in 17 schools since the start of the year.
Grovelands Primary iPad media coordinator Monika Saini says she has seen a big improvement in all areas of learning over the two-months the iPads have been in the school.
“The lower years that were reluctant to try are now eager and excited to give learning a go,” Ms Saini said.
Year 1 students Selina Brown, Liam Lawson and Nestray Irankunda only had positive things to say about the iPads.
“It’s my favourite thing to do in class because [the iPad] reads me stories,” Selina said.
“I like counting 5s, 10s and 15s,” Liam said.
“I like the pirate game because it’s fun and I like pirates,” Nestray said.
Miranda Jordan and Belinda Bryan who are parents of the Year 1 and 2 students agreed the iPads would benefit their children’s learning.
“Implementing technology in schools to help [students] learn is a great idea,” Ms Jordan said.
“Technology is only going to become more available and progress.
“My kids know more than me half the time.
“They grab my phone and do things I didn’t even know it could do.”
Ms Bryan thought it was a good idea for children to “start using iPads now”.
“These are going to be predominant in future jobs, so why not start early?” she said.
Early Childhood lecturer at Curtin University, Sarah Thomas, says if iPads are used effectively and appropriately in the classroom then there are no major disadvantages.
“When a teacher is well trained to understand the effective use then only benefits will be seen,” Ms Thomas said.
“For younger children, this initiative can open doors to the use of technology and the development of independence.”
Early Childhood lecturer at Murdoch University , Sandra Hesterman, said education was more about ‘edutainment’.
“The difference in learning compared to 20 years ago is that children are being exposed to a lot more visual stimuli, such as television and the toys they play with, at a much younger age,” Dr Hesterman said.
“If it’s just blackboard and chalk, children become bored easily.
“Technology is far more motivating.
Dr Hesterman said that if students were motivated they would stay focussed.
“The longer they stay on task, the more likely they’ll absorb that information,” she said.
Principal of Grovelands Primary, Luke Clatworthy, sees the iPads as “a wonderful opportunity”.
“The iPads have been a tremendous boost for the school, [allowing] us to think ahead and … set new goals and targets for the next three to five years,” he said.