I.T. IN OUR SCHOOLS
DAILY TELEGRAPH MARCH 21st
While it does come with a health warning, there’s no doubt technology is transformational, believes Philip Britton, head of the Boys’ Division at Bolton School in Lancashire, where all pupils will be issued with iPads by September this year.
“The ability to ﬁnd out the answer yourself is new. Gone are library lessons and visits to the IT room to research; instead, the library has become a hub of constant classroom activity, and teachers need to interpret and marshal information, not just dole it out,” says Britton.
The school has been careful to bring parents onside, with evenings to explain how it will address the “downside” of technology. The iPads belong to the school, not to the pupils, and contents can be inspected. His school aims to make them “boring”: a routine tool rather than a distraction.
Can an iPad help schoolchildren get better grades?
Britton believes, as many do, that schools can help pupils understand there’s more to technology than games.
“Using it for work as well as play is what happens in the workplace. Adults must start to guide children around the e-world, rather than standing back and worrying,” he says.
Setting an example with new ways of learning
Time for Pi
The Grammar School at Leeds, West Yorkshire introduced iPads for staff in September 2013 and senior school pupils will be invited to take in their own devices later this year. Those studying computing have also been offered the chance to borrow a RaspberryPi, a cheap educational computer, to develop programming skills.Year 9 pupil, Thomas Shakespeare, has devised a home alarm — a DVD concealing a pressure pad — for his bedroom, which sends an email informing him security has been breached.
Another pupil, Andrew Huff, in Year 11, is launching a Raspberry Pi into space, attached to a weather balloon to gather meteorological data, and is working with academics and the Civil Aviation Authority to ensure the mission is a success.
Hampton School, Middlesex has replaced desktop computers with 30 iPads, each featuring a microphone and headphones, in its language lab.Pupils are able to practise language skills using a variety of apps, such as Strip Designer, which allows users to make their own cartoon in a language of their choice; Key Notes, a system that enables students to compile a presentation in a language that can be shared with the class through Apple TV; and Morfo, which allows pupils to create a 3D image of themselves which projects words they have recorded.
“Our modern languages initiative has proved a major success, not least because we are harnessing technology that has the full endorsement of the pupils themselves,” says a school spokesperson.