John Ngo is the founder of Small Epic. He’s an idealist who believes in publishing, entrepreneurship, user experience, Ruby, and the ‘Greater Fool’.
When we’re often too busy figuring out issues with our e-mail, or trying to make a call on our so called ‘smart’ phones; it’s easy to forget that technology really does have the potential to make dramatic and positive differences to our lives.
"…you know what happens when you give teachers computers that actually work? They use them. A lot."
The iPad Project: Day One
As someone who makes a living making technology more accessible to people, these words really struck a chord with me. When technology fails, we feel as though we have failed technology when in reality the fault rarely lies with end users, but rather the people who create technology without any empathy for those who will be using it.
Nobody understands this more than Fraser Speirs, who teaches computing at the Cedars School of Excellence and has taken on the ambitious task of deploying iPads for every student and writing about it.
The project is only six weeks in, but he’s already noticing dramatic educational impacts:
We’re seeing the iPad completely change the way that certain subjects are taught. Our best example so far is Art. I will write and share more about what we’re doing in Art over time but it’s fair to say that it is already far beyond anything I expected in the first year, let alone the first month.
At this point, all I can give you are some practical anecdotes which, I hope, will give you a flavour of the change.
- I picked up a ream of printer paper yesterday. It had dust on top of it.
- Primary 2 pupils have now memorised their passwords. That’s not something that happens when they get 40 minutes a week on computers.
- Last week, we couldn’t get the Primary 3 pupils to stop doing maths and go for lunch.
- My daughter April asked me if I could install the educational apps from school on my iPad so she could use them at home.
- We’re seeing a reduction in the amount of homework forgotten or not done.
- "Forgetting your folder" for a subject is now a thing of the past.