The first panel discussion of this year’s show looked at the potential benefits of using tablets and other mobile technology in the classroom.
Chaired by Rob Campbell, Principal of Impington Village College, three school leaders shared ideas about how devices can be used effectively to raise student attainment.
The panel members were a great example of primary and secondary schools implementing tablets across all lessons.
“When you are one of the first through the door you often get a bloody nose, and we experienced that when we started,” said Derek Trimmer, headteacher at Hove Park School.
He added: “We tried BYOD at the beginning but we soon realised that we didn’t want to be in the position where some apps were working on certain devices and not on others, so we decided to go with Apple because it would give us that seamless integration.”
Trimmer introduced a one-to-one iPad program a year ago, with the idea that a personal iPad for school or at home would empower students by encouraging creativity, problem solving, and independent learning. Trimmer said that it would give teachers a wide range of tools and applications to enhance every lesson.”
Lisa Cowell, director of learning and teaching at Penwortham Priory Academy rolled out mobile technology to years 7-10 in September 2012, with the help of the E-learning Foundation. Speaking at the panel discussion, she said: “All our staff and learning support assistants now have iPads and 40 out of 60 rooms have Apple TV.”
Denham Kite is headteacher at Victoria Dock Primary School, which currently has 80 iPads and 30 iPods between 300 children.
“We own all the iPads, they don’t go home,” explained Kite. “Anything we purchase comes out of our school budgets.”
You’ve most likely spotted a continuing trend here. All three schools have chosen to roll out Apple products. This was picked up by a number of delegates in the audience.
“The children are driving the trends – they are the users. If they stopped using Apple we’d stop using Apple,” said Cowell, adding: “We still trial new technology and if we found a particular product that worked better, we would certainly switch to that.”
Kite concluded the discussion with: “If I had all the time in the world I’d try everything but to be perfectly honest it just works very well for us.”
More on the panel discussion later.