Queensland schools are set to reap the benefit of iPads in the classroom if incumbent Queensland Premier Anna Bligh is re-elected, after she today pledged to run a pilot program of the tablets involving over 5000 students.
Under the $5.7 million plan aired by Bligh and Queensland Labor today (PDF), 5065 year 7 students in 20 test schools will get access to a 32GB Wi-Fi version of the Apple iPad 2 tablet. Policy documents specify that the funds for the tablet pilot program would come out of the Queensland Education Trust fund.
The $5.7 million allocated to the pilot program would see each year 7 student get an iPad, protected by an AppleCare Protection Plan (or equivalent), and would also pay for charging trolleys, secure storage facilities and a device-management platform. The government plans to spend $1125.37 per student on the new pilot program.
The government said that it has chosen the iPad due to its success in the Australian market.
"The use of tablet devices is skyrocketing, with 330 per cent growth in the last 12 months. It is estimated that more than 11 million Australians ... will be using a tablet device by 2016, and the Apple iPad is the clear market leader, with 76 per cent of tablet sales last year.
"iPad and equivalent tablet devices offer benefits over traditional laptops or netbooks for the classroom environment, including long battery life, improved interactivity and higher screen qualities. This will help give students a flying start to their secondary education," the Labor party wrote in its policy document.
The pilot program will be phased in between 2012 and 2014 in 20 Queensland schools:
- Murrumba State Secondary College (from 2012)
- Alexandra Hills State High School (from 2013)
- Bray Park State High School (from 2013)
- Bremer State High School, Ipswich (from 2013)
- Cleveland District State High School (from 2013)
- Clifton State High School, Darling Downs (from 2013)
- Crows Nest State School, Darling Downs (from 2013)
- Glenden State School, Central Queensland (from 2013)
- Glenmore High School, Rockhampton (from 2013)
- Gordonvale State High School (from 2014)
- Meridan State College, Caloundra (from 2013)
- Nambour State High School (from 2013)
- Northern Beaches State High School, Townsville (from 2013)
- Southport State High School (from 2013)
- Springfield Central State High School, Ipswich (from 2013)
- The Gap State High School (from 2013)
- Toolooa State High School, Gladstone (from 2013)
- Varsity State College, Gold Coast (from 2013)
- New high school at Eimeo Road, Mackay (from its opening in 2013)
- New high school at Foxwell Road, Coomera (from its opening in 2013)
Queensland's state opposition has also proposed an educational iPad program that if elected, would see the party provide iPads to students with special needs.