Netherfield Primary School, Nottingham, recently signed up to our e7 free iPad scheme and I went in today to hand over their 40 trial devices and make sure staff were comfortable using them before teaching. Netherfield had actually already purchased 24 brand new Apple iPad devices with Retina displays, and had given them out to staff over Christmas to get acquainted with, so it turned out they already knew much more than I was expecting!
On top of the 24 teachers who had already had chance to put iPad through its paces, the training session was opened up to a further 40 or so teaching assistants who we split into groups with the more iPad-savvy staff, so it turned out to be a pretty full hall in the end! 32 of the 40 new devices were going to be used by a foundation group of three to four year olds, with the other eight earmarked for a slightly older Nurture group (as well as being used as a bookable resource).
We started by running through all the physical features of iPad, including the different multitouch gestures and camera, and then had a bit of fun in the Photo Booth app. What the staff at Netherfield seemed to really love was how easy it was to create folders for apps and also create shortcuts to webpages, so they could set the pages they visit the most, such as their webmail, as their own apps on the home screen with just a couple of taps.
Another highlight for staff was iPad’s Guided Access feature. This lets you go into an app and highlight any areas you don’t want students to be able to access – such as advert banners and buttons for in-app purchases – so students can’t accidentally buy things on the school account. The staff all agreed that this was perfect for the age groups they would be working with, as was the ability to set up passcodes so students wouldn’t be able to leave an app without a 4-digit password. A demonstration of how tough the Griffin Survivor cases we send out with the e7 iPad deployment are (I started the training by mercilessly throwing my own iPad on the hall floor!) also went down well.
There were a few interesting questions from staff about setting up email (Netherfield use a system provided by the local authority), but ultimately they found using iPad pretty straightforward. The staff who had been using the devices over Christmas even wanted to show me a few things they had found interesting, including the Augmented Reality app, which launches interactive virtual animations when pointing the iPad camera at certain trigger images. Very cool!
We’ll be catching up with Netherfield Primary School again soon, but in the meantime, you can find out more about the e7 Project here). To keep track of all our latest e7 happenings, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page. Want to get involved? Call 03332 409 333 or email e7@Jigsaw24.com.