It is advantageous to revisit the reasoning behind the implementation of iPad technology at Nambour Christian College. It is also beneficial to restate the strategy behind implementation and the responsibility that the College shares with parents in educating children in the productive use of technology to ensure that children become responsible digital citizens.
Aware of the need to replace existing laptops and computers, the College invested significant time into researching a suitable digital learning strategy. Through consultation with staff, parents, students and other schools it became obvious that tablet technology would service the needs of educational trends, learning theories and the needs of the classroom environment. While there are numerous tablets on the market, from our thorough research it became apparent that the Apple iPad would support teaching and learning unlike any other device. Our digital learning strategy is based on solid research and we are confident our decision has addressed the requirements of twenty first century learning.
The Australian Curriculum has placed emphasis on the use of technology throughout all subject areas and across all year levels. To cater for the educational demand and the need to have immediate access to online resources and applications, students from Year 4 to Year 12 have been provided with an assistive tool for learning. iPads are available from Prep to Year 3 to assist with project tasks that require digital technology. Although owned by the College, Year 4 to Year 12 maintain personal ownership of the iPad and the students have the ability to continue their project tasks and studies on the device at home.
Nambour Christian College is one of the largest consumers of iPad technology within the state of Queensland. Across the College there are almost 1100 iPads being used by staff and students. To encourage personal ownership and care of the device, it was decided that the best method of deployment of 1 to 1 devices was to place all the essential requirements (iPad4, Gumdrop Case, iTunes Card, Charger and USB Lead) into an NCC tote bag and allow families to have a personal experience enriched by discovery learning. Our model has gained interest from other educational institutions and is supported by Apple through the provision of Apple Care with each and every device.
The Parent and Student Portal is updated regularly with information on iPad setup and configuration and includes a list of required applications for individual year levels. There are a variety of links, videos and resources to assist students and parents. The Parent Portal contains information regarding Restrictions to help parents understand how to manage the device, gain censorship and maintain control. The College encourages families to implement behavioral management strategies and maintain healthy lifestyle through promotion of family values.
The Apple iPad4 can significantly transform learning. The device is mobile and in essence can support learning, “any place and at any pace”. Students can take ownership of their learning and this autonomous appeal empowers learners to achieve personal best. The ability to access applications and install tools and resources that can assist with workflow reinforce the principles of flexible learning. Within the school environment numerous teaching professionals have suggested applications to differentiate learning.
While devices can be locked down and restrictions enabled this potentially inhibits learning and therefore can impede progress and productivity. The College seeks partnership with parents to ensure the device is used to primarily assist organization, productivity, education, research and learning. The College has outlined expectations and rules and takes appropriate action when students are off task and inappropriate behavior is displayed. The College is encouraged by the use of iPad technology at school and urge parents to support and replicate our vision of using iPad technology to transform teaching and learning regardless of location, time and environment.