Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

College to embrace new technology for learning

Benalla P-12 College Years 5, 6 and 7 students will be using iPads next year as part of a new information technology program.

MONIQUE FREER June 20, 2014 3:47am

Benalla P-12 College 21st century learning and technology leader Jordan Smith, Year 6 students Holly Morrison and Carissa Tuckett and principal Barbara OíBrien are looking forward to the introduction of iPads for Years 5, 6 and 7 students next year.

A number of families at Benalla P-12 College will be forking out for iPads next year as part of a new information and communication technology program.

Students in Years 5, 6 and 7 will be expected to own the tablet from next year, to be used in each class.

Benalla P-12 College 21st century learning and technology leader Jordan Smith said while the iPads would incur a significant cost for families, they provided better learning outcomes.

‘‘All subjects will use its different features, whether it be word processing or media applications ... they’re really versatile machines,’’ he said.

‘‘We’re embracing technology to ensure that our school doesn’t fall behind.

‘‘We’re not pioneering but we’re moving probably faster than other schools in the area.

‘‘We’re really looking at being a pilot school in the Benalla area.’’

The iPads will cost between $338 and $668 per student and families will be responsible for their purchase.

‘‘We are looking at having them owned by parents, so it puts more responsibility on the students themselves,’’ Mr Smith said.

Mr Smith said the school was working with local providers such as Tomorrow:Today Foundation and MAC1 in Albury to provide the most cost-effective option for families.

Staff are also working to arrange vouchers for families that qualify, and MAC1 has offered a ‘lease to buy’ option for $8 a week over two years.

The one-to-one iPad program will be introduced in just three year levels initially, with Years 5, 6 and 7 selected in a bid to bridge the gap between primary and secondary students.

‘‘We want to reindentify Benalla P-12 as catering for all students’ ICT needs, not just secondary,’’ Mr Smith said.

‘‘We’re starting at different transitions ... we want to start strong and small and build from there.’’

Students have already been using iPads as part of the curriculum this year, and the feedback has been positive.

‘‘They’re easier to turn on instead of waiting for the netbooks to load,’’ Year 6 student Holly Morrison said.

‘‘They have more apps you can use, you can make movies and take photos.’’

‘‘They connect faster to the internet than the netbooks do,’’ Year 6 student Carissa Tuckett said.

‘‘When you’re outside and doing a class event you can easily take photos and carry them around easier.’’

The students said they were also able to be far more creative with their learning while using iPads.

Once the iPad is purchased families will also have access to $100 of applications free of charge.

The introduction of iPads is part of a three-year ICT program, which will determine the direction of the rollout from 2016.

The school is encouraging any parents of students in other year levels who wish to purchase an iPad now, to do so.

Benalla P-12 College will hold information evenings for parents about the introduction of iPads on Monday, June 23 at 2.30pm at Waller St campus; Tuesday, June 24 at 2.30pm at Avon St campus; and Thursday, June 26 at 6pm at Faithfull St campus.

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