Public schools in Quebec may not be able to put tablets on students’ school-supply list according to a provincial rule, however, some schools using tablets say they are having great success using the devices.
Deputy head of Westmount’s all-girls private school Antonia Zannis told the CBC that children from kindergarten and up are equipped with tablets or laptops to help enhance their learning. In a statement, she said:
“They’re doing a variety of things. For instance, in kindergarten they use an app, Daisy the Dinosaur, and they have to use simple coding techniques to move Daisy around the screen.”
Students from kindergarten to grade 5 are given iPads to use in class, while students from grade 6 to 11 are given laptops. The costs of the iPads and laptops are factored into the tuition parents pay.
Zannis said that students use the devices to make designs, test and enhance their knowledge, write and edit material, and do other tasks. The school is aiming to teach students to be creators and not merely consumers of technology.
“They’re coming in with so much experience already. They’re used to having devices, so that just makes it very natural for them. It’s very exciting for them — it engages them to a great degree.”
Chairperson of the Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board Jennifer Maccarone said that each school in the public system has to determine for itself whether to use tablets and laptops.
However, the disparity problem that it presents is unavoidable. Some schools are simply in a better financial position than others to buy iPads and laptops for use in classrooms. Maccarone said:
“The measures we received from the government are very stringent in that they dictate to us exactly how we need to spend that money, and that money has not been allocated for the purchase of tablets.”
Maccarone said that schools could get bulk-discount rates on the iPads by placing a large order. According to a new provincial ruling, asking parents to pay for the cost of an iPad or laptop is no longer permitted in public schools in Quebec.
Public schools in Quebec are doing the best they can with the financial resources they have to give their students a 21st-century education. Do you think using iPads, other tablets, and/or laptops in the classroom is beneficial to student learning? Let us know in the comments below.