Kent School Swaps Blackboards For iPads

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Children at a school in Kent will all be equipped with Apple iPad 2 devices from September

A Kent school is set to equip its 1,400 pupils with iPads for the next academic year.

The deal is reported to be worth just over £800,000 – big enough for Apple to send an iPad project manager to demonstrate educational applications for parents.

The iPads will be central to learning at the Longford Academy, Dartford, and pupils and their families can buy the Wi-Fi only 16GB iPad2s for £576 or commit to monthly £16 ‘donations’ for three years.

The school told parents that building IT infrastructure – such as high speed Internet links, equipping and training teachers, interactive Whiteboards and learning software – is a priority.

“Young people enjoy learning through technology, enhancing motivation, this in turn helps them achieve better results,” it said in a newsletter.

Each device will be fully insured and those opting for the donation scheme can sign up again at the end of the three years and upgrade to the latest version available at that time.

Reducing the digital divide

Parents will be able to keep track of the work children are doing via a Virtual Learning Environment, and the school will police Internet usage during school time and on the school’s network.

The school is working with national charity the eLearning Foundation on the project.

The school also told parents: “We understand that some families will find it hard to contribute the same as everyone else. We would encourage you to discuss this with us if this is a concern.”

The donation scheme allows the school to reclaim the basic tax on donations through HMRC’s gift aid facility.

The eLearning Foundation was formed in 2001 with the aim of reducing the so-called digital divide by allowing children access to the latest learning technology.

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