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iPads find their way to classrooms

posted Jan 17, 2011, 4:50 AM by Sam Mbale   [ updated Jan 17, 2011, 4:52 AM ]
iPads replace textbooks for some Nanyang Girls High School students in Singapore, as school explores new ways to teach and learn.
SINGAPORE-SCHOOL IPADS - In this Singapore classroom, you won't find textbooks, but the Apple iPad. About 30 of them in fact.

As part of efforts to change the teaching and learning environment, about 150 students and teachers at the Nanyang Girl's High School have been given their own personal iPads.

For the lucky, it spells the end of heavy bags and books, and having alot fun in the process

14-YEAR-OLD STUDENT, CHLOE CHEN, SAYING:

"I think it is a very fresh experience and of course like other classmates of mine I think it's really very fun. Like today, in the morning when I came to school, a lot of them were fiddling around with the Ipads and trying with new apps, so compared to books which are very conventional, I think Ipad is a new approach. So I guess many of us will find it very fresh and very fun and exciting experience."

In the Singapore school system, students are provided access to personal computers and the Internet for research, but Nanyang Girl's dean of curriculum Saeh Hui Yong says the iPad represents new levels of mobility, and a way to change how students learn.

 DEAN OF CURRICULUM, MS SEAH HUI YONG, SAYING:

"Ipad is an aspect of it, but that is our final goal, to change teaching and learning in class."

"(We found that) it was a very good personal learning device, extremely mobile, light weight, it's easy to use, I think if you talk to the girls you will realise that they practically don't need training. I think if anything, the joke is the teachers a probably taking a little bit longer time in getting used to it. So it seemed to be a device that was just the thing that we were looking for and we were glad that it came out and so we grabbed the opportunity to use it."

The school forked out about $100,000 for the iPads.

Nanyang Girl's Head of information and communication technology, Mark Shone says the school is also working to ensure the devices are used correctly.

 PHYSICS TEACHER AND SCHOOL HEAD OF ICT (INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY), MARK SHONE, SAYING:

"We're very happy with Ipad as a device, of course there will be some concerns that we are little bit worried about, some issues might be perhaps worrying about the, making sure that the girls are going to appropriate websites, also making sure that the girls don't get addicted to the device and use it too much. So we've actually met up with the parents, we've discussed these issues with the parents, so we have the parents working with us to help us avoid these issues," said Mark Shone, Physics teacher and head of the ICT (Information and Communication Technology).

The girls can't quite throw out their books yet though - the iPads are on trial for a year, and if successful will be implemented in stages.

Singapore's education ministry says four schools are piloting the use of iPads in the classroom, including one grade school.

Arnold Gay, Reuters.

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