iPad project passes classroom test

Bethany Hiatt Education Editor
West Beechboro Primary School students Shae-Lee Lovering and Henry Bui. Picture: Bill Hatto/The West Australian

A $1 million project that gave iPads to classes of six and seven-year-olds improved their behaviour and eagerness to learn, an independent evaluation has found.

But the one-year trial did not provide enough evidence to show that using iPads significantly improved students' results.

The Education Department last year rolled out nearly 900 iPads to 17 public schools to use for teaching reading, writing and maths to Years 1 and 2 children.

Schools which took part were required to test students at the start and the end of the year.

Lack of technical support meant some schools did not start using iPads until late in the year.

The review, by business consultants 2020 Global, said the evidence was "sufficiently persuasive" to conclude the initiative's objectives were achieved on "almost all fronts".

Nearly one-third of children surveyed at the end of the program said using iPads was their favourite activity, compared with less than 5 per cent in first term.

Education Minister Peter Collier said the initiative was a "one-off" and there were no plans to roll out iPads to all schools.

Ray Boyd, principal of West Beechboro Primary School which was given 55 iPads and has since bought more, said the children loved to use them.

"If kids are engaged, you've got more opportunity of getting them to actually learn something," he said.