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
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
''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.''