Nicholas Jones

Nicholas Jones is the New Zealand Herald’s education reporter.

School gives an iPad to every pupil

Teacher Monique Storey is surrounded by a class full of iPads after students were given their own iPad at Te Akau ki Primary School in Papamoa. Photo / Alan Gibson
Teacher Monique Storey is surrounded by a class full of iPads after students were given their own iPad at Te Akau ki Primary School in Papamoa. Photo / Alan Gibson

A state primary school is giving each of its students an iPad for their own use - and says government money and fundraising were enough to pay for the project.

About 250 new iPad minis were given to children starting the new year at Te Akau ki Papamoa, a decile 4 school in Bay of Plenty, yesterday.

A further 45 tablets have been ordered for late enrollers.

So far the school has invested about $50,000 to ensure all its senior students have their own device. They retail for about $450 each.

Hundreds of schools around the country have implemented "bring your own device" (BYOD) policies, where students are either told or allowed to bring electronic devices such as iPads or laptops to assist their learning.

Principal Bruce Jepsen told the Herald that concerns about such policies creating a "haves" and "have-nots" situation meant his board of trustees chose a different approach.

He said another problem with students bringing their own devices was the variety, which could hinder teachers trying to corral a classroom full of different technology.

The school already had about five iPads in every classroom - around 150 across its 500 students.

Every student in Years 4 to 6 received an iPad yesterday. The plan is to extend the programme to the junior school eventually.

While many schools would balk at the cost, Mr Jepsen said it had been possible with careful budgeting and some fundraising.

A Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust subsidy will pay 50 per cent of the initial $101,000 cost. But Mr Jepsen insisted the school was committed to the initiative with or without assistance, with another $60,000 budgeted for that purpose.

"[The grant] means we are able to progress the second phase of rolling out to the junior school a lot quicker."

Katrina Cruze, who has two boys at the school, said the scheme would expose the students to technology that would play a huge part in their lives. And that would happen regardless of their family background.

"You have parents dropping the kids off in Range Rovers, and parents walking because there's no car. And they're all getting that same start."

Mr Jepsen said security was an issue. The eventual aim was for students to take the iPads home with them, but for now they were being stored at the school.

He said it had a CCTV and alarm system, and was patrolled by security guards.

Tablets for all

*All senior students at Tauranga's Te Akau ki Papamoa Primary School have their own 16GB iPad mini to use during school hours.
*The school will eventually invest $110,000 in the scheme, with plans to widen it to include junior students

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- NZ Herald

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