Children are increasingly young technicians and several schools have decided to join in by offering iPads to children from kindergarten.
Our French-language school board of British Columbia decided to acquire a hundred digital tablets for its students from kindergarten to grade four, an investment of around 100,000 $. Last year, as part of a pilot project, around 30 digital tablets were purchased for children. This year, the experience is extended with the purchase of approximately 75 additional tablets. Thus, more than 350 students from 15 primary schools will have access to devices which will be rotated between the different schools.
“The deployment will continue in a cautious manner over the next few years,” says Pierre Claveau, director of the public relations department.
The tablets are used for two 30-minute periods per day. “We have found that devices overstimulate children. When they let go, they have a lot of energy to come out. We found that it was not a good idea to leave them all the time, ”notes Mr. Claveau.
The little ones already had a few computers in the classroom, but tablets are considered more user-friendly and more fun. “They're more rugged than laptops thanks to a rubber casing that absorbs shocks. In addition, children can touch directly on the screen. They are also less expensive, ”argues Mr. Claveau.
One laptop per student
A few years ago, the French-speaking school board of British Columbia had already set up a program to provide a laptop computer to each child in grade 4.e at the 12e year. "From this year, they will be able to bring it home," said Mr. Claveau, even if the process is currently slowed down by a strike of zeal on the part of the teachers who are in negotiations. The cost of the devices, amounting to a thousand dollars each, is fully paid by the council.
The longer term goal is to have paperless classes. However, this is not possible at the moment, as some manuals are not available digitally or are too expensive.
This project was largely inspired by that carried out by the Eastern Township School Board, in Quebec.
IPads in American kindergartens
These young students from British Columbia are not the only ones who have fallen for iPads. In Maine, Auburn Elementary School delivered the infamous digital tablet to its 300 kindergarten students this fall, according to the Huffington Post. An expenditure of approximately 200,000 $ which was not unanimous. The article also reports that 5-year-old students have been given digital tablets in a dozen school districts across the country.
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