Fairfield plans to roll out tablets

Fairfield School pupils Phoebe Aburn and J. Rock Maultby (both 12) get on with their web-based school work. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Fairfield School pupils Phoebe Aburn and J. Rock Maultby (both 12) get on with their web-based school work. Photo by Peter McIntosh.

Education at Fairfield School is moving into the 21st century with plans to equip its pupils with tablets so they can work anywhere, anytime.

Principal Andrew Larson said three classes at the school had been trialling an internet-based education tool, which allowed pupils to access, collaborate and share the work they have been doing, while at school, at home or anywhere that has a computer.

He said children had been working with an application called Google Drive which allows individuals to store up to 15GB of information for free, access them from anywhere, and collaborate with others.

The idea was inspired when the school administration investigated ways to save large quantities of important data, and found information could be stored online.

Pupils were using Google Drive to store work such as word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and drawings.

The best part is, the programmes used to create the files are also stored on Google Drive, allowing pupils to work on their projects outside school, even if their home computers do not have the appropriate programmes installed, he said.

''It doesn't matter what sort of tool they're using to create it, at home they can go into their drive through Google and continue to work on their project. As long as they have access to Google, they will have all the tools they need to do their work.''

Mr Larson said there were many benefits for both the pupils and staff.

''What we are finding is that for teachers, it is saving them time. They are being able to mark work a lot easier because at any time they have a spare moment, they can pick up on the device and go into the children's work and look at it and give them feedback and comments about it.

''We're also finding the standard of children's work is going up because parents are talking to them about their work at home, teachers are giving them feedback, and they are sharing with some of their peers and they're giving them some feedback as well.

''So there has been quite a lift. Really, we're bringing our children into the 21st century.

''I can sit here in my office and if there is something I want all the children to look at, I can send it to room 1 and every child can pick it up on their device and work on it at the same time.''

Mr Larson said eventually, the education tool would be rolled out across the entire school.

Not all children had their own tablets yet, so the next step would be for the school to provide Chromebook personal computers, which have all the applications installed that the children need to work with, he said.

''A lot of schools around the country are starting to move this way, and we wanted to make sure our children are on the cutting edge as well.''

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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