Home' Teacher : April 2011 Contents 32 TEACHER APRIL 2011
the United States of America and Canada in
developing a program that aims to force our
students to take action, implement an idea
and solution, and use the most appropriate
technology at the appropriate time to help
them complete the challenge.
Currently, our students in Years 5 and
6 are investigating the concept of resilience
and how communities come together to over-
come adversity. Their challenge has been to
help a com munity recover from a natural
disaster. This topic has provided many learn-
ing opportunities for teachers and students,
and has allowed the students to demonstrate
their creativity and resourcefulness.
Through these investigations, concepts
have emerged which have allowed ou r
teachers to seize the learning opportunities.
Students have explored, for example, the
ongoing development of news media from
print newspaper to apps, and hardship and
its ability to be measu red. Through these
investigations, our students are directing
and contributing to their learning.
Outcomes for students
So, overall, how has the iPad impacted upon
our students since its introduction?
The intuitive nature of the iPad means
students are not scared to 'have a go.' They
are able to navigate their way around,
decide which is the best app for which task,
and have another go if they get it wrong.
Students who are not confident speakers
in front of a class are loving the ability to
record their voice. Students with learning
disabilities are finding school isn't so hard
now that they have a tool which they know
how to use, and are allowed to use it. The
students are empowered to use whatever
apps suit them, as long as they meet the
requirements of the task.
We are seeing an improvement in self-
esteem and confidence, as our learners
begin to experience more success with a
medium which makes sense to them. We
have promoted the notion that teachers are
also learners, and as a result, we have our
students willing to collaborate and share
not only with one another, but their teach-
ers. Learning spreads like wildfire and new
ideas are celebrated during reflection.
The students are challenged to reflect
upon their learning and revisit what worked,
what didn't and why. The notion that things
don't always go to plan has been celebrated
and highlights the fact that there is always
something we can learn from it.
The improved access to the technol-
ogy has been a huge difference. No longer
do students have to wait for their turn to
access technology, or wait for their weekly
computer session in the lab. The iPads have
allowed our students to have access when
and where they need it.
Another important factor not to be over-
looked is parent body. We have empha-
sised the importance and responsibility
our parents have in helping their child suc-
ceed through the interest they demonstrate
in their learning. The picture of a parent
and their child sitting on the couch, going
through some of their experiences from the
day is one that has become a reality. Sharing
online experiences with their parents also
tends to encourage our students to become
more aware of their digital citizenship. It
also assists to combat cyberbullying, because
the students' online social interactions are
being taken out of the privacy of the study.
So, are iPads a gimmick, a distraction or
just hype? I think not.
Are they giving our kids a chance to
share their understanding in a medium that
suits them? I think so.
Adam Brice is an Assistant Principal at
Ringwood North PS. He is passionate
about making learning real and relevant.
Visit http://applesforkids.org to follow
updates on his school's progress and
For more on the Victorian gove rnment's
iPad trial, visit http://www.ipadsforedu-
To see Ringwood North Primary School's
digital storytelling and podc asting, visit
No longer do you need to
be a technology guru to
get the thing to do what
you want it to.
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