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In 2012 an Ofsted inspection was carried out at Arbourthorne Community Primary School, in their message to the children Ofsted stated “….we have asked the staff to make sure that they set you off on learning tasks as quickly as possible. We have also asked that the work set in lessons, particularly in English, gives you more chance to use modern technology in order to find things out for yourselves.”
Liz Keen, Assistant Head, developed a vision of implementing mobile learning tools into the classroom that would inspire the children to be creative in their learning and encourage the staff to be efficient in their teaching. In a school where a high proportion of children are eligible for free school meals and at least 25% don’t have internet access at home, the introduction of a mobile device to the classroom would also help bridge the attainment gap.
Working with KRCS
Already an iPhone/iPad user, and aware that most of the staff had an iPhone, she decided to investigate the possibilities of using iPad in the classroom. She got in touch with KRCS and David, the school’s personal account manager, offered to visit the school to get a better understanding of their unique requirements.
David was able to highlight how Apple’s products allow teachers to redefine what’s possible in the classroom along with the various technical considerations for a successful solution. Liz found that KRCS were clearly the most knowledgeable reseller to partner with and were unique in their enthusiasm to visit the school and explain a complete solution for their needs. As well as helping to articulate a vision for iPad, David was also able to tell Liz about security for the iPad, syncing and charging solutions, and education pricing - all of which she was unaware of.
The school issued an iPad to each of the teaching staff and some were introduced into the classroom. Because of the familiarity with the iPad it was a quick and easy integration into the school. The children and staff were able to pick up the iPad and use them straight away. After a short time of using the iPad it became clear that they could do even more with them in the classroom but needed guidance. KRCS provided Apple Professional Development (APD) training and combined it with internal training sessions to improve the skills of the teachers and the potential of the iPad in the classroom.
iPad, a powerful learning tool
The school staff soon began to use their iPad with their existing services to share and collaborate on documents and resources. The teachers were able to log the children’s achievements with the 2simple app, tagging photos and videos of work they had done and associating each piece with an area of the national curriculum.
After initially using the iPad as a shared resource the school quickly became aware that the iPad could be an even more powerful learning tool if the students were able to have the long term usage of their own device. With further investment in iPad the school were able to achieve a 1:1 deployment in Year 6 at the start of school year 2013/14. The year 6 group have used the iPad in every aspect of their learning and they are encouraged to keep everything in their online folder which is password protected.
They are enthusiastic about and enjoy creative writing on the iPad and are able to leave the classroom with their personal devices and can continue to edit and re-draft the documents anywhere in the school before submitting them to be marked. Being able to take video instantly with the iPad has proved useful, both in school and while on their residential trip. The children were able to make video diaries which became a running commentary of what they were doing as they were doing it, which helped to improve engagement in the activities. They also filmed themselves reading stories suitable for the younger children in the school and a QR code was placed on the front of the story book so the younger children could scan the code to see the video/read along with it.
Ofsted called for a boost in English and Literacy and to reduce the time it takes for the teachers to explain the learning tasks. Introducing the iPad to Arbourthorne re-ignited a passion for teaching in the classroom while motivating and encouraging independent learning in the pupils.
One of the biggest learning outcomes from the 1:1 deployment is that the Year 6 SATS results in Reading this year are the best the school has ever achieved.
Arbourthorne’s iPad journey is continuing into the future, with plans to achieve a 1:1 ratio in Year 5 as soon as possible, and move further down the school as time progresses, to enable all students to reap the benefits of iPad in the Classroom.