ACG Pathways has been appointed an Apple Distinguished Programme (ADP) for 2017/2018.
The designation is reserved for programmes that meet criteria for innovation, leadership, and educational excellence, and demonstrate Apple’s vision of exemplary learning environments. The award is limited to just 400 institutions around the world in any one year.
ACG Pathways is New Zealand’s largest provider of university foundation studies. The ADP award applies to its University of Auckland Certificate in Foundation Studies, AUT Certificate in Foundation Studies, The Victoria University of Wellington Foundation Studies Programme and ACG English School.
“The story began in 2011 when ACG English School staff researched how iPads could have a positive impact on the learning of English as a foreign language,” explained ACG Education’s Executive Principal NZ International Schools, Mark Haines.
“We wanted to help students expand their learning outside the classroom as a preparation for higher education, and to tap into their creativity, whatever their language ability or skillset.”
All students were given an iPad to use for the duration of their course with access to selected apps. Because ACG owned the devices, there was no charge to students and no risk of distraction from the App Store, a common problem with BYOD schemes, which often worries parents.
Since then, the programme has been rolled out to students on all ACG Pathways courses. “They use the technology to create newspapers, videos, audio clips, to collaborate with other students, to share ideas. It’s a world away from students sitting at desks, filling answers in a textbook.”
As well as improved independence and creativity, staff have seen an improvement in academic subject pass rates since the technology was introduced four years ago. “While other changes have occurred in that period of time, none was more significant than the introduction of iPads,” explained Mr Haines.
He said staff have embraced the technology and become more proficient at using it, and students have integrated it into their everyday learning at school and at home.
Apple said ACG Pathways met all best practice-five criteria: Visionary Leadership; Innovative Learning and Teaching; Ongoing Professional Learning; Compelling Evidence of Success; and Flexible Learning Environment.