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iPad in the classroom
The children and teachers at Hazel Oak School, Solihull, have embraced Apple technology with the help of KRCS. iPads are used in the classroom for a wide variety of projects, from developing phonic skills to using Keynote and Pages for creating documents and presentations and assessing learning.
Head teacher, Debbie Jenkins and Mike Nash, IT manager were both Apple converts. While using their Apple devices for personal use they were able to see the capacity and potential for transforming the use of IT in their school. They believed they would be able to do more with the curriculum, improve learning and motivation for the children while inspiring the teaching staff.
Frustrated with their existing large trolleys containing laptops that were never charged, different login’s and wasted learning opportunities, Mike encouraged Debbie to attend an Apple leadership summit in Birmingham. She came away from it full of ideas and inspiration. Apple pointed them in the direction of KRCS and they invested in 2 sets of iPad which were first deployed in Class 4 and the 6th form.
Initially the senior leadership team and teaching staff were encouraged to use the iPad, find suitable apps and share their experiences. The true power of the device became apparent and Debbie realised that she would need an iPad evangelist in school, who would see the potential and be able to grasp the concept of mobile learning and take it forward. Andy Simms, Assistant Head, took up the challenge. Already an iPhone user he was aware of the vast potential of the iPad for the children - with its ease of use and multitude of available ‘safe’ and vetted Apps.
Working with KRCS
The iPad journey at Hazel Oak has grown and evolved, with support from KRCS. They use Lightspeed MDM, Lightspeed Rocket filtering and WebDAV and find it easy to grow as they can 'bolt on to' the existing system.
The curriculum can be changed/adapted because they have had the iPad to compliment it. They use numerous apps to support developing phonic skills, numeracy and literacy and have recently started to use 2Simple so the teachers can assess work, the pupils can use it for self-assessment and reports can be printed off to support Ofsted’s requirements.
Embracing Apple technology
Many of the children in the school struggle with problem solving and the iPad has enabled the pupils to overcome this without realising. Every classroom is also equipped with an Apple TV, the children share their work with the class, while staying at their desk - an important feature for children who have low social skills - removes the awkwardness of having to stand in front of the whole class to present their work. At Hazel Oak the ‘DOJO’ system allows pupils to earn points for excellent work, behaviour and attitude. These rewards are often displayed on the board in class using Apple TV.
The children have the same access on the iPad and on the face of it are therefore equals in class, they are able to choose what tools they use to solve problems, research topics and present their work. The teacher also has the flexibility to manage the access of learning based on the individual child’s needs.
The children and teachers have embraced the technology in the classroom and use the iPad for a variety of projects from developing phonic skills to using keynote and pages for creating documents and presentations. The iPad has removed the immediate need for paper and pencils - it’s just there, instant on and ready to used as a valued learning tool in the classroom. The children’s enthusiasm and the teachers motivation using the technology ultimately leads to the children working at a higher level. The school continues to encourage the team to share good practice and found this to be a valuable training tool.