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A lesson in thinking smart

ST Aidan's primary school in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, has anticipated the so-called Smart Economy -- possibly by several decades -- and decided to take matters into its own hands. Or rather into its pupils' hands.

Inspired by a UK pilot scheme sponsored by Apple, in which children learn by using hand-held touch iPods, principal Peter Creedon decided this was just the thing for St Aidan's. However, he decided there must be an iPod for every child in the two fourth classes, not just the few devices supplied by Apple.

Somehow the money was raised and the project has been such a success that the school is extending it to other classes.

The teachers find that the iPods, which have been downloaded with educational software applications, develop not only the children's communication skills but also their collaborative working skills. And maths is now a doddle.

The school had considered buying laptops but believed the iPod idea was far better.

And anyway, the children think iPods are cooler than laptops and a deadly way to learn. Behaviour is always at its best when the iPods are out.

If St Aidan's staff had not done a bit of lateral thinking, they might have been stuck with one laptop for each class and a projector, which is the Government's nod in the direction of technological teaching aids.

The country, from the bottom to the very top, could do with more of the imagination and purpose displayed by the staff of St Aidan's.

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