Beaconhills College introduced the iPad in 2012 to the Year 5 to 12 students after extensive research of many schools locally and overseas. This was a major shift to mobile technology for the College and we have learnt a lot and developed the program over the last two years. This has allowed the students to have a more authentic learning experience and given the teachers time to research better learning materials.
With the iPad, the students are able to personalise their learning and incorporate it into their classes. The small size of the iPad means that it does not take control of a student workspace. It becomes a tool on their desk allowing for other resources to be used with ease. The ability to turn it on and off instantly and its day-long battery life are vital to a modern classroom. The iPad connects to all types of computers, it backs up to the internet and does not add a massive weight to the school bag.
All apps are available from one low cost site, the Apple App Store, which is a safe marketplace that can be filtered by parental controls placed on the iPad. With over 40,000 apps just for education, the iPad can bring the student beyond the four walls of the classroom.
Renowned international advisor on education, Sir Ken Robinson says, “Creativity is as important now in education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status.” Incorporating the iPad into our classroom opens up this world of creativity in subject areas that may not have been that creative in the past. A student can use ‘Explain Everything’ to demonstrate the workings of a quadratic equation or photograph a chemical experiment and incorporate those visual results into their findings. They can collaborate in filming a chapter of the novel they are studying or Facetime a student in a Japanese speaking-school to practise their language skills. These skills are vital for the modern learner and are not possible without having a personalised, portable, interactive digtal device into their classroom. We believe that the iPad is the best tool to nurture the individual learning skills of every child.
Adopting the BYOD policy allows our students to learn to make an informed decision on which device best suits their learning at Beaconhills, as well into their tertiary studies and future employment. Our Senior School learning systems are web-based and don’t rely on specific software in other sections of the College.
The College has an age-appropriate approach to using technology. For our younger students, the iPad continues to be the preferred device which is supported by a large range of educational software (Apps). It is vital in these early years that our teachers support their students’ use of the iPad and Apps. Having classrooms with one device allows our teachers to best support students during this stage of their learning and ensures that the selection of the device does not impact on classroom practices.
Senior School students will be responsible for ensuring that their device is in full working order and capable of meeting the technological requirements of the teacher. Although most of the Senior School Learning systems will be web-based via our BeaconNet portal, students may still need to source information for particular subjects and will be given a selection of Apple, Web-based or Android Apps.
The NMC Horizon Report K – 12, 2014 states that… “For schools, BYOD is less about the devices and more about the personalised content that users have loaded onto them. Rarely do two devices share the same content or settings, and BYOD enables students and educators to leverage the tools that make them most efficient and productive. Devices have become the gateways to personal working and learning environments that facilitate the exploration of new subjects at a pace that is unique to each learner. This model ultimately gives learners ownership of their learning, as they are entrusted to demonstrate their mastery of required competencies in methods of their choosing, and select the technological tools they need to do this. Education researchers highlight BYOD as the technology practice that will best accommodate this vision of personalised learning.”