Tech boost for West Coast schools

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An almost $500,000 investment in new computer equipment over the last three years has seen West Coast primary schools become more tech savvy.

Recently, 10 primary schools received $138,000 worth of new ICT equipment, thanks to Development West Coast’s Computers in Schools programme.

Over the last three years 31 schools in the region have invested $461,000 on new classroom technology, including 265 new computers, 135 tablets, upgraded wireless networks, digital cameras, interactive whiteboards and data projectors. Development West Coast provided $345,000 of the funding with schools providing the rest and committing to ongoing technology plans.

John Sturgeon, Development West Coast chair, says the organisation is proud to have been involved in the Computers in Schools programme.

“It is great that West Coast kids are now in a position where they are ahead of the game when it comes to technology. Our kids deserve the same opportunities those in other regions get,” he says.

Deputy Principal of Westport North School, Cath O’Loughlin, says the school has been able to purchase an iPad for every teacher meaning each class, from Year 0 to Year 8, now have two at their disposal.

“The children are using the iPads for maths and literacy as there are lots of games which practice the skills and strategies they need. They don’t even realise they are learning,” she says.

“Teachers have been given days for professional development around e-blended learning and even though it is unchartered territory they are enjoying using the new technology, especially as the iPads are so easy to use.”

The Computers in Schools project came about after an audit found 74% of West Coast schools had computers that were four to six years old, compared to the national average of three years. ICT facilitator Eric Martini, the ICT Management Committee and West Coast Primary Principals approached Development West Coast with a proposal to upgrade ICT equipment throughout West Coast schools.

An independent review of the first year of the Computers in Schools project has found students are more engaged in learning and have increased motivation and engagement since the introduction of new technology.

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