Sunday 19 November 2017

Students chalk up success with tablet technology

Aisling Costello (centre) with her fellow Loreto Secondary School students learning to use their tablets
Aisling Costello (centre) with her fellow Loreto Secondary School students learning to use their tablets

Conor Kane

INK stains and chalk dust are being consigned to the history books as a second level school embraces digital technology.

Loreto Secondary School in Kilkenny has broken new ground by being the first in Europe to take part in tech-giant Samsung's 'Smart School Solution' project.

The school is already using tablet computers, allowing first-year pupils to access textbooks digitally. But the latest venture will see a classroom specifically employed for the technology.

There are 31 tablets in the classroom, along with a PC for the teacher, keyboard docks, software, a 65-inch interactive board and chargers.

During class, the teacher can send material to the pupils' tablets electronically. Tests can be done quickly using the computers to collate the results and post them on the interactive board.

If the class's attention starts to stray, the teacher can "lock" the pupils' screens to call them to attention, and the computers can also be used to download e-books or deliver timetables and school notices.

Tablets have been hailed as an inevitable replacement for school books in the coming years and some schools are already using them.

However, the cost of the technology is a barrier, despite debate about electronic books being cheaper than hard copy.

The Loreto school and Samsung already had a "relationship" thanks to the school's decision to purchase tablet computers for its first year students last September.

But the Irish pilot of this scheme sees the company supplying all equipment.

Samsung says it is "very much committed to working with the school so they can get the most out of it".

Samsung's general manager for telecommunications and network in Ireland, Gary Twohig, said: "This is the classroom of the future. It's here and now already."

The Smart School Solution project is already running in the United States and South Korea -- and now in Kilkenny.

Irish Independent

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