Department of Education

Primary Support

Primary Support

Case studies

About the iPad initiative

Nineteen primary schools participated in the Early Childhood iPad Initiative. These schools were selected on the basis that they had established strong whole-school approaches to literacy and numeracy. Over 850 iPad devices were distributed to the 19 schools for use by Year 1 and 2 students and teachers.


The project was based on the work undertaken in 2011 by Settlers and Aubin Grove Primary Schools where School Innovation Grants were used to implement ICT practices to improve student engagement and achievement in:

  • phonological awareness
  • the acquisition of phonics and
  • the development of reading.

Settlers and Aubin Grove Primary Schools utilised iPads to integrate literacy-based iPad applications into structured literacy sessions. iPads didn’t replace good teaching but became an exciting tool to enhance learning opportunities for students. Both schools found that the strategies improved students’ learning.

The aim of the Early Childhood iPad Initiative was to ensure effective integration of ICT into teaching and learning in three areas:

  • innovative ways of using the technology for learning
  • effective and evidence-based teaching of literacy and numeracy with the integration of iPad devices and
  • strong school leadership and whole-school engagement with literacy and numeracy through the integration of iPad devices.

Schools participating in the Early Childhood iPad Initiative integrated innovative technology into classroom practice to transform student engagement and increase the motivation to learn. The creation of new and more powerful ICT strategies tailored to suit the learning needs of students can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of schools learning programs.

The Early Childhood iPad Initiative built on the learning, strategies and resources of the Literacy and Numeracy National Partnership Program which successfully assisted schools' to improve their performance as measured by NAPLAN in 2011.


Whilst teachers are encouraged to use new technologies in their classrooms, there was limited research on how iPads can be used to support literacy and numeracy learning in early childhood education. Participating schools investigated how the technology:

  • enhances students’ learning in literacy and numeracy
  • expands teachers’ pedagogical practices
  • facilitates the development of creative approaches to using the devices.

Settlers and Aubin Grove Primary Schools acted as mentor schools for this project. Early childhood teachers undertook action learning that used iPad technology to support evidence-based teaching strategies. They drew on the learning developed through the 2011 Innovation Grants at Settlers and Aubin Grove Primary Schools.

The following resources and information on iPad education trials may be useful for research and implementation purposes:

Action learning

An important outcome of the Early Childhood iPad Initiative was the formation of a professional learning community that shared action research on how iPad technology can transform early childhood learning.

Schools had access to an online collaborative forum located in Connect where they shared their action learning.

Teachers who participated in the initiative collected data from staff and students to determine changes in student performance in literacy and numeracy, engagement to learning and changes in teachers' pedagogical practices.

This action research data was collated and shared in order to inform wider use of this technology in classrooms.

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