iPads in schools

It has been quite interesting sitting on the sidelines watching the media publish apparent howls of rage over Orewa College’s announcement that iPads are required for 2012 – Letter_to_Year_8_parents_24_June

Even our refridgerators are internet enabled. Source: http://media.firebox.com/pic/p411_big.jpg

Even our fridges are internet enabled. Source: http://media.firebox.com/pic/p411_big.jpg

I say apparent howl’s as I have spoken to staff at Orewa and there was an extensive discussion process in place. The Media has reported that the stationary list is now topping $1500, the implication being that they will have to buy the iPad immediately, however, this too is incorrect as the supplier has provided a range of plans for purchase with the cheapest costing under $10 per week – Purchase_Options_July_2011




I am not surprised to hear the usual round of comments about the introduction of technology into the school. These are tired and lame excuses.

To the commentators who say that they didn’t need computers when they were at school, we now live in a different world where computers are integral and ubiquitous.

To those who are concerned about the impact on hand writing, what was the last meaningful thing that you hand wrote? What documents are hand written today? How would you feel if your lawyer or accountant sent you a hand written statement, invoice, notice or update? Would you question their professional approach? Yes examinations are hand written, this is sad and archaic and if we look at the global trends this too is changing.

To those who say well they will still need books – this too is changing consider this article about Korea and their move to have all textbooks digital by 2015 – http://www.eschoolnews.com/2011/07/01/all-korean-textbooks-to-go-digital-by-2015/

What is sadly missing in the reporting I have thus far seen is the huge education benefits that can be derived from these stunning tools. The opportunities for anywhere anytime learning, collaboration, immediate and timely research, continuity of education between school and home, operating in a medium the students are not only comfortable in but prefer, the diverse range of excellent resources, media and tools available to the students through these tools. These tools are suitable and appropriate, engaging and motivating, flexible and agile. Yet these points seem to be ignored.

The purpose of school is to prepare students for the future by appropriately educating them. We know that the future is under certain, Sir Ken Robinson stated in his famous TED talk http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html that our kids will be doing jobs that are not even invented yet. There are some things that we do know – that the use of computers is going to grow and grow. That they are going to ubiquitous and invisible in our lives and that our students and children must be fluent in their use.

source: http://lornapblog.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/big-tick.jpg

source: http://lornapblog.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/big-tick.jpg

Orewa college has taken a step that is appropriate and necessary. My only criticism of them is that why did it take so long? Well done, Orewa College. Kia Kaha.

Am I going to sit an mourn the passing of the pen? No more than I wept for the departure of the fountain pen.

6 thoughts on “iPads in schools

  1. Well put Mr Churches!
    I too watched with despair as this story unfolded yesterday and turned into a media beat up about the cost of schooling. It seems ridiculous to me that we are holding so many students back from meaningful, personalised e-learning because it wouldn’t be fair on those who can’t afford it. That’s a lame excuse for carrying on doing what we’ve always done and seeing the results we’ve always seen.

  2. This is another excellent post Andrew – one in which I agree with completely. Thanks for putting it so eloquently.

    Mary Robinson

  3. My thoughts exactly Andrew. You just have to love the talk back radio comments that have followed this ‘story’ – ‘in my day…..’. It is a great example to have students look at the the bias in news articles and have them look for balanced points of view. Once again technology is put ahead of education.

  4. nicely summed up. i’m really disappointed in stuff, which i had thought was a reasonably credible source. but i have been told, face to face from a reporter (not with stuff, but with another national news org) that they are to slant every article so there’s a controversy. in other words, creating the news rather than reporting it. we need to call them on this every time.

    as a parent in a home where budgeting counts, i can sympathise. however, with 6 months notice and xmas/boxing day sales or internet sales between now and then, i could and would manage (though if i had to buy new uniforms as well it’d be tricky). if only my child had been allowed a device at school! i commend orewa on their embracing technology as present, not future, and not burying their heads in the sand like so many. the complainers are simply those who are inexperienced in what technology has to offer and see it only as a toy, not a tool. perhaps the school will offer a workshop for parents? and maybe stuff will do the right thing and report on what they learned!

  5. Pingback: Where are the computers? | Continue

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