Several years ago, we made the decision to commit to the use of a single device for students at HCS. We decided that the iPad best meets the needs for our students and staff and began the process of seeing them as the only learning device our students had.
The process is working through the school, and currently, all students from Y12 down are only permitted to have iPads as their devices for learning. Next year the current Y12 will be Y13, and that will mean that ALL students at HCS will only have iPads as a device for learning.
There are several reasons that we chose iPads, some of which (not comprehensive) are listed below
- Portability to and from school: iPads are smaller, lighter, and more portable than most laptops. This can be especially beneficial for younger students who may have trouble carrying heavier devices.
- Portability for learning: Students can roam with the iPad and use the camera for capturing videos, still photography, recording audio and creating many other opportunities for learning.
- Touchscreen interface: iPads have a touchscreen interface, which can be more intuitive and easier to use for some students than a traditional keyboard and mouse.
- Longer battery life: iPads typically have a longer battery life than laptops, which means that students can use them for longer periods of time without needing to recharge.
- Lower cost: iPads are generally less expensive than laptops, which can make them a more affordable option for parents that are working within a tight budget. Parents are not required to have a brand new, top-of-the-line iPad for each of their children.
- Educational apps: There are a large number of educational apps available for iPads, many of which are designed specifically for classroom use. These apps can help to engage students and make learning more interactive and fun.
- Teacher Control: With the use of Apple Classroom, teachers can monitor and restrict what students do on an iPad. It also gives teachers a summary of what apps students were using during their class.
- Common platform: We wanted all students to have one platform so that they would all be able to access the same apps and have the same learning opportunities. This way teachers did not need to modify lessons where some students have a portable device and others a stationary device.
We did also consider the use of laptops, however, not excluding the above points, we ultimately decided against them. Laptops generally restricted learning on with a device to internet searching, watching videos and typing. The basic conclusion is that with a physical keyboard, an iPad can now do all a laptop can and much more.
Unfortunately, we have a few students who have a laptop at school who are in year groups where iPads are compulsory, as detailed on the stationery list and in the whānau handbook. We are asking that they be changed over as soon as possible.
Where an iPad is not able to be sourced, as a temporary measure, we have a few iPads at school that students can sign out for the day.
From 1 August 2023 (Term 3, Week 3), only iPads will be given access to the school network, as these are the only devices our teachers can monitor in a way that limits their becoming a distraction to learning.
Please note that we have heard from individual parents' preference for a different device such as a Chromebook, android tablet, laptop or even no device. I trust that with the information included in this message, you will have a better understanding of how we landed on this decision.