Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia pilot tablet program for students cancelled

A one-year pilot project that saw Halifax entrepreneurs partner with the Department of Education to teach math using tablet computers is history. For now at least.

'We have, if not the worst math program, one of the worst math programs in the country'

Central Kings students used the IPads to help with math. (CBC)
A one-year pilot project that saw Halifax entrepreneurs partner with the Department of Education to teach math using tablet computers is history. For now at least. 

The department has not ruled out another try, but the business people involved say it didn't produce the results they were looking for.

"We have, if not the worst math program, one of the worst math programs at [Grade Primary to Grade 12] in the country. And that's a disgrace," John Risley said as he slammed his first on the table, speaking to a crowd of business people Thursday. 

Risley, an entrepreneur, said one of the reasons he invested money last year was to find out if an iPad could get kids excited about learning math. 

The experiment required both teacher training and IT support. 

Business leaders Risley and Jim Spatz each gave $250,000 to help fund the program.

"I will tell you that Jim Spatz and I tried something under the previous government in this direction and it didn't work," said Risley. 

He declined to point fingers, and so far, the province's explanation for why the pilot didn't continue is that the results are still being evaluated.  

"If the private partner believed that it was not a good investment of their money, we'll return the money to them. Our investment stays and we will continue to try to look at the positive impact that came out of that pilot," said Karen Casey, minister of education.

All four schools that were part of the provincial pilot got to keep the equipment.

Only one board picked up where the  province left off — the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board spent $35,000 to buy tablets for Grade 7 students at Central Kings Rural High School this year.

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