IT is out with pencils and in with iPads as Woolsthorpe Primary School embraces the latest technology for its youngest pupils.
In a first for the south-west, the school is using iPads as an educational tool, with a particular focus on improving literacy skills.
The project has gained the attention of Deakin University’s Warrnambool campus, whose researchers will keep a keen eye on how effective the technology is.
Deakin senior lecturer Dr Julianne Lynch said allocating iPads to prep pupils was an innovative step.
“Most primary schools put the newest and best IT into the higher grade levels,” she said.
“We will be working with the school over the coming year to explore how iPads might be best integrated into the classroom teaching and learning program.”
Principal Simon Perry said Woolsthorpe was the first primary school in south-west Victoria to introduce iPads and had continued to develop the program in prep this year.
“They have been introduced to support learning, not as a toy,” Mr Perry said.
“We put them in as a trial and use them as an educational tool with a particular focus on oral literacy but also with links to developing numeracy skills.”
Mr Perry said children loved the iPads.
“In many cases there has been a form of role reversal and they are showing the teacher how to use them.
“We are pleased to have Deakin involved to document and record how the children use the iPads and how we can continue to build them into our educational programs,” he said.
Dr Lynch said initial results suggested that the prep pupils quickly developed an understanding of the touch screen and how to navigate the system.
“Their use of the devices is very impressive. People often underestimate what young learners can do with technology,” she said.
“The devices are very popular with the pupils who express a preference for them over other technologies available in the classroom.”