Since 2003, students and teachers at the Eastern Townships School Board (ETSB), in the Estrie region, have been working and learning with laptops on a daily basis. However, the new cohorts will now be equipped with iPad mini. Why this change?
Since 2003, from their 3e elementary grade, students attending an ETSB school were given a Macbook laptop. The latter followed them in their education until the end of their 5th year of secondary school. Renaud Boisjoly, innovation coordinator, and Serge Béliveau, deputy director of educational services at the school board, have agreed to answer our questions about the change of course towards the iPad mini.
"For educational reasons, but also budgetary reasons, the school board has made the shift to the iPad mini, ”explains Mr. Béliveau. The deployment should take place over a period of 4 years, at a rate of 2 levels per year, always of the 3e primary to 5e secondary. Teachers will continue to benefit in addition to a laptop computer to facilitate the management of work.
What motivated this decision? As explained by MM. Béliveau and Boisjoly, various factors were taken into consideration: the intuitiveness of the iPad, the vast possibilities of creation that it offers, the rarity of breakages, its very light weight. “In other words, we were confident that our students and teachers could accomplish whatever they wanted with the tool, while having the other benefits mentioned,” they explain.
Which one offers the most possibilities: laptop or mobile tablet?
More and more schools that choose to equip themselves with portable devices are asking themselves questions: laptops or mobile tablets? Often, those who opt for the laptop evoke the fact that it would offer "more possibilities". Against this trend, the Eastern Townships School Board argues the opposite. “Our experience during the 10 years of the 1: 1 project (1 computer per student) made us appreciate the use of simple and functional tools. Despite the fact that we already had devices that were fairly easy to use, our tests showed that with the iPad, teachers and students could accomplish what they wanted even more easily and with even less technical support. In addition, the costs related to the purchase are much lower, as is the invoice related to breakage. "
So why the “mini” edition of the iPad? ? Won't the students tire more quickly on the small screen? “So far, the results are conclusive and teachers are definitely using it as a working tool in the classroom. The iPad mini is a great tool for creating content of all kinds. Even for writing texts, it doesn't seem to be a problem at this point. "
Finally, "the world of today is definitely moving towards mobility", conclude the two men. So economy, great creative possibilities and light technical support finally paved the way for the iPad mini at the ETSB. It will be interesting to assess the success of this measure over the next few years.
A first EdCamp at ETSB in April
On April 26, the School Board will host a first bilingual regional EdCamp. Registrations take place here!