The school previously had good IT resources with only a shared suite of desktops and a trolley of laptops, but it did mean that the children had to take turns to visit a specific ‘technology room’ or carry heavy technology into the classroom. However, Caroline Chisholm is a forward-thinking school, so its teachers were keen to find out how mobile learning could enhance the daily curriculum and encourage children to get to grips with new technologies.
The school invested in 117 iPads along with a remote management solution from Apple Solutions Expert in Education; KRCS, who also provided advice, installation, training and on-going support. Every child now has the opportunity to develop skills which will benefit both their education and personal development through mobile, creative learning and new technologies. Additionally, every teacher has their own iPad which is helping them to better plan, deliver and assess their lessons.
Pupils are more confident and are engaging better with one another and their teachers, as well as being genuinely excited about the iPad apps and the benefits they bring to their daily lessons. They are able to work independently at their own pace and are empowered to be creative and to put their own individuality into each task given to them by their teachers.
Improving pupil engagement
Students at Caroline Chisholm School in Northampton had been managing with just a suite of desktops and a laptop trolley which meant they had to visit one specific IT room in order to use them or carry the heavy devices to the classrooms. The school was keen to find out how mobile learning could improve pupil engagement and introduce new technologies into the curriculum.
Assistant Principal, Katie Towers and Key Stage 2 Team Leader, Steve Gatehouse, attended an Apple Leadership Event at the Silverstone Circuit to find out more. Katie explains: “We knew other schools were using iPad but we’d only ever had personal experience of using the technology and there seemed to be no hard evidence or research to support an improvement in results within education. The event was really useful. We met Glyn Rozier of KRCS there who showed us what iPad could actually deliver and we were amazed and excited by the range of educational apps on offer.”.
With the school’s IT team being firmly rooted in Microsoft technology for some years, Katie and Steve had some challenges on their hands to persuade staff that Apple was the way forward. “I did a lot of research into alternative devices and compiled a detailed comparative report.” explains Steve. “Apple clearly came out on top in terms of value for money, quality and reliability of product. It also had the largest quantity of educational apps and offered quick and easy access to them.”
KRCS loaned the school a set of iPads along with Apple TV and even the most wary of staff had to admit they were suitably impressed.
The school subsequently purchased 117 iPads and 11 Apple TV along with Lightspeed MDM - a cloud-based software system which enables KRCS to manage and update the iPads remotely. “Some teachers were reluctant at the beginning.” said Katie. “However, KRCS and Apple came into school and delivered training and it was soon apparent how easy the technology was to use. Every teacher now has their own iPad and mobile learning has transformed the way they teach.”.
Teacher Amy Symmons is particularly enthusiastic. As leader of the school’s nature area, ‘Forest School’ she says the iPad has proved invaluable in engaging pupils in exciting missions to discover and learn in an outdoor environment. “iPad is amazing!” said Amy. “The children get so excited when I tell them we’re going outside with them. Using iMovie for a task such as creating a trailer, for example, causes them to interact with the rest of the class, encourages teamwork and builds their confidence and self-esteem. They are also a lot more active which is much healthier than simply sitting at a desk. I can give them a task and they will all go off and complete it but in their own individual way, using their own photos, ideas and video clips. This is really helping to develop ‘higher order thinking’ and their unbound creativity always amazes me and makes my job so much more fun!”.
Teachers say iPad has also made assessment quicker and easier, particularly at Foundation Stage with the multi-award winning app 2 Build A Profile. This enables staff to gather observations on the go, improving the quality and consistency of formative assessment, while saving them hours of record-keeping time.
iPad in Sport
iPad is even helping to improve performance in sporting activities. PE Teacher, Joe Rich, says it’s particularly useful for budding athletes. “The Coach’s Eye app is a huge benefit as we can record technique and play it back for instant assessment. This means pupils can immediately see where improvements can be made.” he explains. “The iPad appeals to them because they are already familiar with Apple but it’s also really helping to improve performance because they are genuinely interested in the technology. Being able to evaluate how they, and their friends, are performing is also making them much more competitive, which can only lead to further improvement. Another benefit for me is that I can take the register on the iPad during the lessons rather than making everyone sit in the changing room before a class. This gives us more time out on the field or in the sports hall.”
Working with KRCS
Katie says the school is now ‘streets ahead’ from where it was before the introduction of iPad and Apple technology and is definitely planning on extending the iPad offering in the coming years.
“KRCS have been brilliant. Glyn and his team visited the school on numerous occasions to answer questions and to explain everything we needed to know. It was very reassuring for the IT team to have outside technical knowledge backed by the past experience of KRCS in schools. We now have a very close partnership and I know help is never far away if we need it. I think one of the main benefits is that our children are being encouraged to follow their own path. As long as it gets them to the same place, it doesn’t matter how they get there. This is proving particularly useful for those children who may not be as confident in standing up and presenting their work in front of their classmates. If they’re not comfortable with speaking, they can easily produce a video and present their work that way. We think the power should be in the pupils’ hands and it’s here where you can see their confidence growing every day.”.
Based on their experiences so far, Caroline Chisholm School have plans to continue developing their use of iPad inside and outside of the classroom with support from KRCS.