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Apple highlights how one Australian school uses the iPad to engage students

Credit: Apple

Apple has highlighted how a school in Australia is using the iPad to engage with its students, foster inclusion and equity, and drive change during the pandemic.

In a feature story posted Thursday, Apple examines the iPad-based initiative of St Therese Catholic Primary School, located in a "low socioeconomic area" in Sydney. For example, Principal Michelle McKinnon attributes the smooth transition to remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic to the school's one-to-one iPad initiative.

"When every school in the country suddenly had to shift to remote learning, the effort we had spent embedding iPad and the Everyone Can Create curriculum into every aspect of teaching and learning meant we had a solid foundation from which our students could continue to learn without interruption," McKinnon said.

Some parts of the iPad initiative included a self-directed learning program that allowed students to showcase their talents using Keynote, iMovie, and other programs. Students used the Seesaw app to create portfolios that they then shared with teachers.

McKinnon added that the school used the iPad and other Apple technology for Kindergarten orientation, allowing students to view video tours, photos, and augmented reality experiences of the school.

The principal also said that the iPad fosters equity by allowing educators to personalize "where and when learning happens," providing a blended learning initiative that offers a sense of agency and choice to students.

St Therese's success with the iPad didn't happen overnight, however. It took four years of work to cap off a project that started in 2016 when school leadership rolled out iPads to all students and staff and installed Apple TV devices in nearly all classrooms. Along with the hardware, St Therese faculty also completed the Apple Teacher professional learning program.

In 2019, St Therese Primary School was recognized as an Apple Distinguished School. Currently, enrollments and applications are rising alongside attendance, engagement, and individual learning outcomes, Apple says.

"iPad doesn't just allow our students to think outside of the box — they can redesign the box on their own terms. It gives our students the freedom to explore and express their ideas in the way that makes the best sense to them. That could be in writing, as an audio report, via a video presentation, or even an animation that they create themselves," said McKinnon.