140 students from Nanyang Girls’ High School began the week carrying brand-new Apple iPads in their school bags, given not by their parents but by their school.
Touted as “one of the first schools in Singapore to use iPad for lessons”, the pilot project, codenamed P21C² (Prototype 21st Century Class), aims to boost student engagement and their interest in learning, and at the same time keep up with today’s technologically-advanced society.
Students from two Secondary 1 classes and two Secondary 3 classes are involved in this programme, and iPads are used in the teaching of all subjects in these classes, gradually replacing the conventional pen-and-paper learning environment.
Principal Mdm Heng Boey Hong thinks it is not too early to start on this project as we embark on the second decade of the new millennium.
“In a 21st century world, knowledge is no longer simply disseminated, but co-created. Commonly referred to as ‘digital natives’, our present generation of students should be given a technology-enabled environment that meets their learning style,” she said.
Students are allowed to bring their iPad home, and there are no restrictions to which apps they can download from the App Store.
However, their portable personal learning device must include apps such as Keynote, *******, DocsToGo and eClicker, which the institution thinks “will effectively engage students by facilitating asynchronous interactions with their peers”.
Teachers will also select useful apps related to their respective subject, and students are required to download them.
When asked why the school chose Apple’s iPad over other alternatives, Mr Mark Shone, Subject Head/ICT of Nanyang Girls’ High told Yahoo! Singapore that the iPad offers a sizeable display for viewing of multimedia, has a long battery life, is lightweight, and the App Store features a huge library of educational apps with more are being developed.
Isabelle Loh, a Secondary 3 Nanyang Girls’ High School student, supports the school’s whole-hearted embrace of technology.
“For Math, the apps on the iPad help us learn trigonometry and geometry better by visually calculating triangle and circle angles, and getting the exact dimensions right. Moreover if students can’t comprehend what the teachers are saying, they can easily fire up the browser on their iPad and search it up online.”
Her classmate Lai Ying Ying, who is also involved in the iPad programme, has committed to exhibit self control to prevent her iPad from becoming a distraction to her studies. In fact, she believes the iPad is a useful learning device that helps facilitate independent, self-directed and mobile learning.
The programme, which officially commenced earlier this week, is currently in its preliminary stage and the school will continue to make improvements as time goes by.
Each student is issued a 32GB Wi-Fi iPad model, which comes with a price tag of $878 on the Apple Online Store. The cost of the tablets are fully absorbed by the school.
Nanyang Girls’ High School joins Tampines Secondary School, Dunman Secondary School and Nanhua Primary School in the list of schools that have given the iPad a trial, according to Ministry of Education.
Meanwhile, Maris Stella High School and School of Science and Technology (SST) make it compulsory for students to purchase a MacBook, which is being used during lessons.
The impact of students having a laptop or tablet for lessons on their academic results is still an ongoing debate among educators.
“There is very little evidence that kids learn more, faster or better by using these machines,” said Larry Cuban, a professor emeritus of education at Stanford University.
[url=http://sg.yfittopostblog.com/2011/01/15/students-of-nanyang-girls-high-use-ipad-for-lessons/]Fit to Post – Yahoo! Singapore's blog