|Photo: Cosima Marriner|
Schools across the state are purchasing ''significant'' numbers of iPads without any real idea of their true value in the classroom, a NSW Department of Education study has found. The department is now playing catch-up, conducting research trials in public schools to better understand the educational benefits of the devices.
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''This is uncharted territory and we've gone in like a bull at a gate,'' said Dr. Kristy Goodwin, lecturer, Institute of Early Childhood, Macquarie University, who is evaluating the trials for the department.
Three Sydney primary schools involving 90 children and five teachers participated in the first trial last year. Teachers found the iPads enhanced learning, as students were more engaged, more motivated, better able to collaborate and could personalise their learning.
However, serious concerns emerged about the quality of educational apps available. Three-quarters of the top 100-selling educational apps on iTunes are ''drill and skill'', encouraging rote memorisation of facts, which is useful for spelling and maths.
But teachers involved in the trial found ''content creation'' apps had much greater educational benefits, because they fostered ''higher order thinking'' in students and enabled them to demonstrate what they had learnt.
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Source: Sydney Morning Herald