An Apple a Day for Ringsend College

Apple a day

“An Apple a day keeps Microsoft away” is the modern twist on a well-known saying. It may be a sign of the times, but, this September, the new first year students starting in Ringsend College will be reporting back on all the benefits and challenges of learning with the aid of the popular Apple device, the iPad.

The pilot scheme will begin on the first day of term for the lucky 40 pupils, who come from the surrounding feeder primary schools, when they will each receive their own iPad.

Head porter Paddy Maguire is looking forward to the new initiative and believes it will be a great success. He introduced NewsFour to Donnchadh Clancy, principal of the school, who told us, “The modern classroom is changing, and teaching methods need to change with the times. Young minds are used to technology already. There are some fantastic educational websites available to us, as well as book publishers’ growing availability of e-books. It makes sense to utilize a mode that the student is already in, with which to teach.”

Tommy Browne, of the Dublin Port Company, is the person described as the brains behind the operation, which will be run in similar fashion to the current book rental scheme. The parents pay for the iPad themselves and the Dublin Port Company will provide upfront finance to enable this to happen. Charlie Murphy, of DPC, is mentioned by the principal as being instrumental in the operation.

NewsFour asked Clancy if he had any reservations. “Of course there will be challenges, as there are with any new departure.

We are going into unknown territory,” he said, “Distracting websites, inappropriate content or any device with a camera can potentially cause problems and therefore we will have to be thorough with our appropriate usage policy. However, this will also empower the students with a sense of personal responsibility and prepare them for third level in a new way that can enhance their research skills and familiarize them with valuable methods for lifelong learning.

It will help second level to catch up with the modern education system and spark the whole thing up to continue to be effective. At all times we are aware of the pitfalls and it will be conducted on our terms.”

The school’s router will restrict access while on the premises. Other benefits include reduced need for bulky lockers, improved health and safety through reduction in weight of school bags, information storage and no more excuses like “The dog ate my homework.”

By Maria Shields O’Kelly