STUDENTS at St. Colman’s College, Claremorris, yesterday (Monday) heralded the beginning of a new era for secondary school students when they jettisoned their schoolbooks for state-of-the-art iPads.
The majority of first year pupils opted for the new technology, making them the first college in the country to go digital.
The famed college made the ground-breaking decision after several weeks of consultation with teachers, students and parents prior to the end of the school year in June.
The iPads are now being phased in with the 61 first year students been given the option of using the slick Apple machines instead of a bag full of schoolbooks.
But it was not obligatory as parents could have chosen to go with the iPad or opt for the traditional format.
Each iPad is furnished with a suite of learning Apps at an estimated cost of €700 for the full package, with the price being spread over a three-year period.
School principal Jimmy Finn told The Connaught Telegraph it was an historic day for the college and one that signalled the start of a new era in teaching methods.
He said: “It is a new beginning in teaching methods and one which shows where education is going.
“This project is the brainchild of our deputy principal Pat Keane. He, along with our ICT coordinator Daniel Hyland, worked very hard over the summer months on the project to have it ready for the off today.”
The college is also working with Miriam Judge of Dublin City University who will provide external evaluation of the project.
Mr. Finn added: “Our project has received wonderful support from the teachers, students and parents. We have also received great sponsorship from CBE, Claremorris, Smyth Toys, Echo publishers and Tom Callanan of Galvia Galway.”
He said seven iPads have been sponsored by Darragh McAnthony, owner of Peterborough United soccer team in the UK.
Mr. McAnthony saw the project on the Internet and was so taken in by it that he contacted the college and offered to sponsor the devices.