Schools embrace new technology

PEER into local private school classrooms and you could be surprised to see a lack of paper and pens.

As of yesterday, St Agnes Parish Schools have incorporated the use of iPads as a powerful and innovative educational resource for students in Year 7.

The compulsory stationary requirement can put a hefty dent in some parents’ back pocke. 

But Chris Delaney from St Joseph’s Regional College said the benefits of using this valuable device will far outweigh the costs.

“It was a tough decision, but essentially we asked parents to have their children come to school with an iPad,” Mr Delaney said. 

“It is very important for us to prepare kids for this technology rich world we live in and move forward as leaders in IT.” 

In the past two years, iPads have been used in a string of schools across Australia and around the world.

Mr Delaney was at the forefront of a push to implement the product in Port Macquarie.

Mid last year, teachers from St Paul’s High School and St Joseph’s Regional College visited a number of schools in Brisbane where iPads had been used for up to 18 months.

“I was absolutely amazed at how well they worked in the classroom,” Mr Delaney said.

 “We saw some really great benefits for our students.”

After seeing the positives first-hand the local teachers began investigating ways iPads could be incorporated into the curriculum.

The obvious benefits, he said, would be portability, power, sustained battery life and usability.

“It is a fantastic device that allows kids to learn anywhere and at anytime,” Mr Delaney said.

St Joseph’s student Samantha King said the technologically advanced iPad easily outsmarted books, laptops or standard computers.

“It’s going to be really good because it’s electronic,” she said. “You have a lighter bag instead of carrying around heavy textbooks and there are heaps of apps you can use.”

Mr Delaney said applications provided endless opportunities for more creative and inspired learning.

He maintained students would continue to focus on their writing skills to be adequately prepared for the HSC, and iPads would add to, instead of replace, other skills.

Some classes, however, such as technology and physical education, would try to be completely paper-free in the near future.

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