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September 7, 2012

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Home » Metro » Education

Apple Classes: Pupils, bring your own iPads

A LOCAL public primary school is making headlines after it introduced two so-called "Apple Classes", where major academic courses in the new semester will be taught with the aid of Apple Inc's iPad.

All the 90 first-grade students in the two pilot classes, however, are required to bring their own iPads to school every day, stirring concern among some parents about the overuse of electronic products.

"We want to create a high-tech digital learning environment for children," explained Hua Jie, principal of the Jiading District Experimental Primary School. "Students have used laptops in similar programs before."

A recent students' survey by the school found that more than 100 families owned an iPad.

So the school decided to launch two pilot classes to explore an advanced teaching mechanism combined with modern and traditional education methods.

Students in the two classes will use iPads for one lesson - Chinese, Maths or English - every day.

So attracted were some parents with the innovative program that they rushed to stores to buy the gadget for their children. The school was even forced to hold a lucky draw for students to join the pilot classes as the number of applicants outstripped the quota.

Most parents hailed the ingenious trial but some worried that the digital device may distract children from their studies and even harm their eyesight.

To prevent the potential problems caused by the device, the school has made a deal with parents about the rules on how to use the iPads.

According to the rules, only software approved by the school will be downloaded on the iPad and parents cannot equip it with other software which may be a distraction to students.

During class, students will get a five-minute break after every 30-minute use of the iPad.

Still, some parents worry about the adverse effect this may have on children who don't have an iPad or can't afford one, leading to odious comparisons of family wealth.

Some local schools have already introduced similar programs but the gadgets, including iPads or laptops, are provided to the students.

This, claims Sharon Gong, the mother of a girl student at the Jiading school, is the way to do it, instead of asking the students to bring their own gadgets. "It's better for the school to provide the devices to needy children in the future if they want to promote the program after the trial," she suggested.


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