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Are iPads the best choice for VI high schools?

iPads according to Hon. Fahie will cut back on the texts books and ensure classrooms are technology ready. Photo:
Hon. Fahie first brought up the idea last year while he was on the campaign trail.
Hon. Fahie first brought up the idea last year while he was on the campaign trail.
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Introducing iPads into the Virgin Islands secondary schools is one way of reducing the need for text books and ensuring the classrooms are technology ready, opined former Education and Culture Minister Andrew Fahie in an interview with this news agency recently.

“This generation is into technology so instead of having them go through several text books they have something they love and it would peak their interest,” Hon. Fahie, who is also the First District Representative said.

And while he is not challenging the current Education Minister Hon. Mryon Walwyn to immediately follow through with such an initiative, the District Representative said “It is food for thought”.

Hon. Fahie, in October 2011, during the election trail had put forward the idea of having iPads in secondary schools.

He had told supporters if elected he would have made the devices available to all secondary school students in a phased manner. Granted that students are in a controlled environment, the then Education Minister was optimistic that students would have excelled in their learning capabilities.

"Our secondary students deserve better and with Andrew A. Fahie, better they will get. This is futuristic planning...In addition our teachers will be fully trained on how to use technology to enhance learning. This is nothing new for me because we have already ensured that each teacher in the public schools has a laptop."

The concept of introducing iPads into schools is nothing new in the United States of America but the opinions are divided.

The New York City public schools have ordered more than 2,000 iPads, for $1.3 million; 300 went to Kingsbridge International High School in the Bronx, or enough for all 23 teachers and half of the students to use at the same time, an article in the New York Times reported last year.

However, some parents and scholars have raised concerns that schools are rushing to invest in them before their educational value have been proved by research.

“There is very little evidence that kids learn more, faster or better by using these machines,” said Larry Cuban, a professor emeritus of education at Stanford University, who believes that the money would be better spent to recruit, train and retain teachers. “IPads are marvellous tools to engage kids, but then the novelty wears off and you get into hard-core issues of teaching and learning.”

13 Responses to “Are iPads the best choice for VI high schools?”

  • staff (25/05/2012, 08:46) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Andrew boy we miss you so much form the education lesat you had ideas and had a genuine interest in the kids…as for Myron all we get is pure calculated politics.
    • stfu (25/05/2012, 11:27) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      people love drama , in everything that is posted on line some @$$ turns it into politics Myron is doing aGOOD job and i did not vote for him but i can honestly say that much . i am for the betterment of the country even if its not my party
  • voice-long bush (25/05/2012, 09:27) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    there are many of the private schools with ipads so its a excellent suggestion.
  • Cart before the Horse (25/05/2012, 10:14) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Cart before the Horse syndrome with these Ipads. The children have poor writing skills and somehow they thing that Ipads will solve that. Umm No. As Suze Orman would say "Are you kidding me?" We have to ready the children from Primary School like what used to happen in he 1980s. Today it seems to be more about the getting the children out of the class than preparing them for life. Microsoft Word can only correct spelling and confuse grammar. We have to ready the children for the real world. That's why there are people with Masters Degrees who can't write a simple letter. Hon Walwyn, get back to the basics, then inject the technology. Talk to the HLSCC lecturers and I'm sure they will tell you that the students have poor writing skills. It is OUR job to get them ready for college, for work and for life.
    • Albion (25/05/2012, 13:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Cart before the horse is right. Our school children need better training in basic numeracy and literacy far more than need iPads.
    • ... (25/05/2012, 15:40) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      The problem with the poor writing skills stem from within the primary schools. You have teachers in the primary school system who are no better at English than the students. Some of them mark students work right when it is very much wrong and the use of the English language is very poor and they are the ones who should lay the foundation for the students. The ministry of Education needs to closely examine what is occuring the primary schools especially in Math and English.
    • O Boy (25/05/2012, 15:57) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      To Cart before Horse...... well stated. We need to educate the kids the old school way; this is knowing how to write. When you practice writing and reading you become better at it. Knowing how to apply our education to our everyday life and jobs is essential. I will bet that one of the biggest issues jobs have is people with degrees not knowing how to write and nor speak. Ipads improves efficiency but it does not improve education. While we on this subject, i am not hearing about salary increases for our teachers. On a real note, people walking around collecting big pay checks, and the people we rely on to help educate our children are sometimes at the bottom of the scale. It’s just not the children it the system that needs reforming.
  • ... (25/05/2012, 15:53) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Teachers in the public schools having a laptop is one thing, but what about the use of the computer labs for teaching and learning to expand the knowledge of the subject area for the students. Some schools have computer labs and it is not used, not even for the after school program to show students how they can learn more about a subject taught in school by visiting the textbook companion websites or showing them how to research information for projects.
  • Mick Mars. (25/05/2012, 22:32) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Agree with everything said. Some of these kids don't know the difference between "where" and "were", but that is something different. Ipads are tablet devices. There are many cheaper alternatives out there that give you bang for your buck ( Kindle fire for example which is made by Amazon which in turn owns one of if not The biggest online book distributions on the planet ) without being as pricey as an IPad. With that said, let These kids and their parents buy any brand of tablet device capable of e-reading ( buying and using books on said device, in this case textbooks) and have the majority of text books available through that. Don't just go out and start snapping up the most expensive device on the Market without doing Market research. But yeah, sounds like a plan. Hope it catches on.
  • ausar (26/05/2012, 07:18) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I agree that Ipads are becoming more and more an important learning tool, but I just don't see how they can help students learn rudimentary skills such as verb/subject predicate, definite/indefinite articles, proper grammar, sentence structure coherence-skills required for successful writing ability. Perhaps, for mathematical and other technical concepts, go figure!
    • Bloom (26/05/2012, 10:36) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      There are a number of teaching websites available to assist in improving these areas in the children life's. How these devices are utilize is another factor. What is the objective in mind by providing the IPads beside keeping up with technology? In all aspects of life or project there must be clear objective(s).
  • On Point (26/05/2012, 16:35) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I think it’s about time that Andrew Fahie realize that he is no longer the Minister of Education and stop hobnobbing around as if he is. There is no shadow Minister of Education. Technology does not and cannot teach children the basic skills. It can facilitate their learning only when they have mastered the basics. We like to embrace every fad or fashion that comes by before properly exploring and assessing the pros and cons. The curriculum material to be used must first be in the format readable by e-readers and Ipads and the like. Ipads are neat but could be a distraction for the students. The very reason why cell phones are banned in schools will contribute to the problems. Texting, being on Facebook and other social media will be a challenge for students when they are not disciplined. How do we police that? Ipads are very delicate and break or damage very easily, hence, replacing them is an expensive proposition. The students need structure and discipline before they can even begin to use Ipads as their main vehicle for education. If children can’t read books what makes us think they will be able to read Ipads? We just need to set our priorities straight and focus on the best method of getting our children back on track and move them from the brink of illiteracy. This is the same Andre Fahie that said publicly that business in the private sector expects too much from our children. Now he is back again with his nonsense about Ipads in the school for our children. How many schools have a good library? Our children need to first learn to conduct basic research from books before they jump to Ipads. Let us also understand that as good as we think social media is it is also responsible for the “dumbing down” of our children when they can only use abbreviated jargon and arcane phrase for communicating a thought or idea. Let us stop praising mediocrity and raise our standards. Let us stop fooling our children about how good they are and get them to understand that they have a long way to go but we can get them there using the right methods and approaches. Let us stop making a circus out of our children’s education and put our house in order. All you disciples of Andre Fahie just forge ahead and follow him into extinction with his fanciful ideas. In trying to take the education system from “Good to Great” he has gone from “Bad to Worse.”
  • Benchmark (27/05/2012, 07:27) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    You give each teacher a laptop and printer. Go and check e facts, how many other are more prepared for students than before? How many of them update PowerSchool regularly? How many we're damage and condemned? After you have conducted this investigation, post your stats on Vino and rewrite your article on iPads.

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