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Scotland considers dishing out more iPads to schoolkids

Maybe, if it's 'promoting new teaching behaviours' elsewhere

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The Scottish government has announced plans to "explore" the option of rolling out more mobile devices to education institutions in the country.

Education Secretary Michael Russell revealed the plans on a visit to a primary school in Edinburgh, which is already using technology such as iPads. He said that the government will take stock of how well such schemes are working and consider how they could be used on a wider scale.

"I want Scottish school pupils to be both connected and collaborative and I want to see digital technology being used purposefully both in and out of school," he said. "The range of mobile devices that are now available and the promise of what they can bring to teaching and learning is very exciting and something that must be embraced."

According to the government, 10 local authorities – almost 20 schools and hundreds of pupils – are already piloting iPads and Android technology.

He has asked government agency Education Scotland for recommendations on how the country can benefit from mobile technology for all learners in Scotland.

The government previously outlined five objectives for ICT education in Scotland:

  • To change the culture of the use of ICT.
  • Improve confidence in the use of ICT for learners, teachers, school leaders and parents.
  • Promote new behaviours for teaching.
  • Deepen parental engagement.
  • Strengthen position on hardware and associated infrastructure.

A spokesman for the Scottish government told Guardian Government Computing that no specific timescale had been put in place for when a decision would be made on a further rollout. He said that the government would look closely at places where such technology was already being used and consider the benefits.

"Obviously, we'd also have to look at the costs of rolling out more mobile devices. At the moment we're not saying, 'We're going to roll out this technology to all learners in Scotland'," he added.

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

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