Te Totara Primary School is embracing modern technology, with every classroom now kitted out with at least four iPads each.
The school marked the introduction of the iPads last term with an "iPad party" where every teacher was presented with their class' iPads and a $50 iTunes voucher to download apps.
Principal Brian Sheedy said the school studied plenty of international and national data, including information gathered from within the school, to determine what sort of tablet technology would work best. The school's literacy and numeracy teacher leaders researched appropriate apps that would fit with the curriculum. Many apps were American and, as such, not relevant to New Zealand students.
Having already embraced a range of technology to link learning and teaching, the school wanted to build on that. The school recently upgraded its network so it is now totally wireless.
Brian said the rationale behind investing in the iPads was it enabled teachers to further build upon the personalised learning programmes the school prides itself on tailoring to each student's needs. Each teacher can research and download apps that fit with the level at which the students are learning. They can also download apps that supplement subjects they are learning in class. Year 4 teacher Kelly Good downloaded weather apps for her students to use while they were studying the weather.
Kelly said the introduction of the iPads was almost more of a learning curve for teachers as than for the students. Teachers have provided each other with plenty of support, often sharing tips over lunch breaks. "The children certainly aren't afraid of the technology," said Kelly. "They just jump in and learn as they go."
When Hamilton News visited, Kelly's class was engrossed in various lessons using the iPads. Clearly at ease using the technology, little fingers were swiping and tapping the screens with ease.
Student Imogen Slater said using the iPads was so much fun it didn't feel like learning.
The school decided to lease the iPads so they can upgrade when new technology becomes available.