Student purchase schemes: Making technology affordable

Student purchase schemes: Making technology affordable

A student purchase scheme is the most affordable way to give your students the latest classroom technology like iPad. Now, we’ve come up with our own scheme to help you purchase laptops, notebooks and tablets without giving your accountant palpitations, all pre-configured, paid for and delivered through your very own bespoke purchasing portal.

What is a student purchase scheme?

A student purchase scheme is a four-step process that gets you the latest technology while spending the least possible amount of your budget. Here’s how it works:

– We arrange for you to take out a compliant operating lease on the number of devices you’d like to make available to students (this won’t show up on your books and is cheaper than the options they’d be given by a high street outlet). By levering public sector borrowing, you can get fantastic rates, which you can then pass on as savings to your students.

– We then make all the devices and their accessories available in an online portal, which we’ll build specifically for your scheme and brand to fit in with your school’s identity. (We’ve already managed successful portal schemes for the University of Nottingham, Guardian News & Media and more.)

– Students (or parents) log in to the portal, select the device and accessories they want, and set up a monthly direct debit to pay for it – you then use that money to cover the cost of the lease. This can be over up to three years, depending how long your students’ courses are.

– We deliver your laptops and iPad devices to your school, pre-configured and ready to go. We can even provide three year warranties for your iPad deployment, and set you up with insurance options which mean the school isn’t liable if a parent misses a payment.

Why should I try a student purchase scheme?

It lets students get their hands on the latest technology. As well as helping prepare them for workplaces where Macs and iPad are increasingly common, we’ve seen Mac and iPad increase pupil engagement, improve classroom behaviour, open up the curriculum for SEN and EAL students and help teachers find new, innovative ways to deliver learning. At the same time, the opportunity is a great plus if you want to attract top students.

It lets you pass on the cost of innovation. While it’s obviously important to keep your IT setup up to date and ensure the technology you’re teaching students to use has kept pace with the stuff they’ll encounter in the real world, the fact is that innovation can be costly. With a student purchase scheme, you can pass on the bulk of that cost to parents and students, and invest the money you would have spent in improvements to things like your WiFi network and infrastructure, which will ensure students get the best experience out of their devices.

It lets you sidestep time-consuming admin. Because our portal system is entirely paperless, your admin team won’t find themselves with any extra forms to process or have to waste time working out yet another filing system – everything is done online, and managed centrally by our in-house team.

You can even open it up to teachers. If you’re thinking of providing staff with their own laptops or mobile devices, a staff purchasing scheme extends all the same benefits to them, including making it easier for them to work with whichever device suits their teaching style, all while cutting down on your IT costs (although you can of course subsidise the cost of devices if you want or can afford to).

If you’d like to know more about iPad for education, or want someone to run through your IT options with, we’d love to hear from you! Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com.

Sony release v2.0 update for F55, F5 and AXS-R5

Sony release v2.0 update for F55, F5 and AXS-R5

F5 and F55 users, we have exciting news. Sony have released a free update for the F55, F5 and ASX-R5 that unlocks 30 new creative features (you’ll need to update your camera and recorder to access them). 

Highlights of the new firmware include the introduction of High Frame Rate (HFR) support, comprehensive exposure tools, 24p support and the ability to control audio using the rotary dial.

http://www.jigsaw24.com/sony-pmw-f55-super-35mm-pl-mount-4k-cinema-camera//-/fcp-product/18420

The download is available for free from the Sony site, but there are a couple of things to note before you hit download. First, you will need to update both your camera and recorder to access all the new features. Second, the download contains 15 files, and you shouldn’t attempt to install the update until all 15 have finished downloading. Third, if you find that after installing the update you still can’t access HFR features, do an ALL RESET on the camera, and that should sort if out.

If you’re using a DVF-EL100 or DVF-L700 viewfinder and want to get false colour, you’ll need to download the v2 software to your camera then send the viewfinders away to Sony Service to get this feature unlocked.

Download firmware version 2.0 for the F5, F55 and ASX-R5 now.

Want to know more about 4K and HFR workflows? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or at broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

 

Award-winning radio production at English Martyrs School

Award-winning radio production at English Martyrs School

Paul Allen, head of KS2 at English Martyrs Catholic Primary School recently added a radio production suite which has engaged students, improved speaking and listening, and even bagged them a recent Sony Radio award. Head of KS2 Paul Allen told us why he chose the Apple Mac, iPad and GarageBand setup, and how the training from our Apple Professional Development expert Paul Ford helped get staff up to speed.

What were your main goals for the radio lessons?

“The radio was to promote oracy skills. We noticed that as a school we were having more children arrive not able to speak properly, and it was just there to help us promote standard English. We thought that was a creative way of doing it, so that they actually had an end product at the end of the process.”

What setup are you using?

“The first time that we [recorded a radio show], it was all based on the Mac and a lot of children sitting round a microphone, but following Paul’s training we were a bit more clued up and able to go and use GarageBand on the iPad devices, and the pupils went out and recorded the show themselves and then brought it back [to edit with our help].”

How have pupils found using the setup?

“The radio has impacted on children’s speaking and listening, it’s impacted on their writing, it’s also impacted on social skills and confidence as well, because some of the children we targeted the project at were the children who were wary of speaking in front of others, and it’s interesting to see how they’ve developed in confidence.”

Have staff found it easy to pick up?

“Paul ran a session for all the staff, he showed us how to do simple podcasts, he then showed us how to make music as well. Because all staff now have a bit more confidence in using [the Mac and iPad devices] themselves, the children are better, so we feel we’re able to roll them out across the whole school.”

You recently won a Sony Radio award for a piece the school submitted too…?

“They said it was a very entertaining piece, and that’s why we won […] There were lots of stories and different things from across the school. In about May time about three members of staff actually got invited to the actual Sony Radio Awards ceremony in London, and the group of children who produced that particular show, are going for a day at BBC Radio in London to see how it all works.”

How was working with Jigsaw24 and Paul?

“Paul was really friendly, the staff have enjoyed working with him. He’s obviously really passionate about it, and believes that iPad can be used to promote teaching and learning. Whenever he’s come, he’s always worked with a small group of children and he’s showed them how to do something, so we’ve almost got some experts among the children who can then share it with the other children as well, so that approach has worked really well for us.”

– You can find out more about Apple’s GarageBand in our review here. If you like the sound of radio production using iPad, check out our article on iPad music-making, How to start an iPad band: Leamore Primary School.

Want to know more about our radio production and Apple iPad for the classroom? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333, email learning@Jigsaw24.com, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page for all the latest technology in education news, reviews and articles.

 

Stocks Taylor Benson: Delivering on deadline thanks to Apple, Adobe & Jigsaw24

Stocks Taylor Benson: Delivering on deadline thanks to Apple, Adobe & Jigsaw24

Stocks Taylor Benson are a 25-strong graphic design agency based in Leicester, with clients as diverse as Morrisons, Next, Herbalife and Avon. Founded in 1988, they’ve been coming to us for equipment and support “almost since year dot”, as designer and account manager Greg Jolley explains…

“Being a design company, it’s pretty much default that we’re Apple-based,” Greg explains. “Although the gap is narrower now between PC and Mac, designers will still favour Mac over PC to run their design software!”

Stocks Taylor Benson have been using Apple hardware "almost since year dot"

Stocks Taylor Benson have been using Apple hardware “almost since year dot”

 Finding an experienced Apple support supplier

It wasn’t easy finding someone who had the depth of knowledge they needed to keep their Macs online and their clients happy. “Jigsaw24 have sold Apple for a long time, and they’ve supported us almost since year dot,” Greg said. “When we moved to a new building a few years ago, they installed a new server and backup system. They now provide our IT support remotely, accessing any workstation on the network to diagnose and solve any issues, which is great.”

“If something goes wrong, it always tends to go wrong at the point when you don’t want it to. Jigsaw24 are really good at being there to solve problems. We are a deadline driven company, so having things fixed speedily is a big advantage, and Jigsaw24 support that. The remote access [to solve IT issues] is something that’s come in in the last year or two and been a real help,” said Greg. “If any individual machines have particular problems, we can get someone from Jigsaw24 to look at it online and you get an instant fix or an instant answer, rather than having to wait. ”

Keeping everything onsite and under control

Stocks Taylor Benson prefer to keep their resources on-site, rather than in the cloud, so the network, servers and storage we set them up with are “integral, we couldn’t work without them,” said Greg. “We all work on different projects at different times, so having a central store of all our files that we can access and see who’s working on what is important.”

Another key component of the workflow is Adobe’s Creative Suite, which we supply and support. “Creative Suite is pretty much the only choice for us. It’s the industry standard, especially for the kind of design we do.” As well as helping them manage their licences, we also provide software support for all STB’s Adobe products, and are helping them “keep with the times” by making sure they’re on the latest solutions across the board.

Want to know more about how we can support your Macs? Call the team on 03332 409 306 or email services@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Rewarding partners and driving sales with iPad at Raleigh UK Ltd

Rewarding partners and driving sales with iPad at Raleigh UK Ltd

In late 2012, Raleigh UK decided to set up an incentive scheme to reward independent cycle and accessory outlets who hit sales targets over the Christmas period. Given the option of receiving an iPad 2 or an LCD television, customers overwhelmingly chose to go after the iPad – even though the sales target was much higher.

“We supplied a significant number of our trade customers with a target turnover for 2012, and if they hit that target they’d receive a 19” LCD television or an iPad 2,” explained Barrie Timson, Raleigh UK’s Business Systems Manager. “We have an incentive scheme every year, but iPad proved particularly popular due to the strength of the brand and the ‘kudos’ associated with it as a product.”

Barrie was particularly pleased with the interest in iPad as the device works well in a retail environment, allowing staff in the cycle shops that received an iPad to use it to interact with customers, increasing engagement and driving further potential sales.

Choosing a device for the Raleigh brand

“We’d been using iPad on our stand at the NEC Cycle show, where we launched the scheme,” Barrie said. “So [rolling that out to shops] was a fairly seamless process. We also wanted a product that wouldn’t give us problems in terms of quality – getting returns and such – and the reliable nature of iPad was a factor in the decision making process.”

Over 60 outlets hit the target required to receive an iPad, and after securing the devices from Jigsaw24, Raleigh chose to dispatch them using their own fleet, to make it clear the device was a reward from Raleigh.

Choosing an IT partner for the scheme

Raleigh are no strangers to the Apple ecosystem, as their sales force are supplied with iPhones and their design team are dedicated Mac Pro users. “We’ve always used Jigsaw24 for our Apple hardware and software,” said Barrie. “They’re local to us and have always been very accommodating of our requests. We’ve always had a good relationship and I’d recommend the Jigsaw24 team to anyone thinking of doing a similar thing.” And would he recommend using iPad as an incentive? “Of course it depends on the kind of business you’re doing, but as a product incentive iPad worked for us. We gave away over 60 devices and we still made enough margin for the scheme to be a success.”

Want to know more about setting up iPad as an incentive scheme? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email B2B@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

What’s new in QuarkXPress 10?

What’s new in QuarkXPress 10?

Quark have just shipped the latest version of their flagship design package, QuarkXPress 10. According to Quark, it’s been “redesigned from the inside out”, giving you access to a new Xenon graphics engine, HiDPI support and a far slicker workflow. Here’s what you need to know about the key features (and the new upgrade plan).

QuarkXPress 10

QuarkXPress 10

The new features

Xenon graphics engine – The new Xenon graphics engine is intended to let you make the most of your computer’s processing power to give seamless graphics performance – think of it as their version of Adobe’s Mercury engine. The improvements you should notice include faster rendering of rich PDFs, Photoshop files and TIFF images, even if they’re not at their lowest resolution, so you can work far faster.

HiDPI and Retina display support – With Apple rolling out Retina displays left, right and centre and ultra-hi-res images becoming common across the creative industries, Quark have done us all a favour and added support for these super-smooth images in QuarkXPress 10, whether you’re working on those screens or just creating work for them.

A brand new GUI – Cleaner, clearer and with a full screen view that lets you hide even dockable palettes, QuarkXPress 10 has been designed to ensure nothing gets between you and your image.

PDF pass-through transparency – This update is designed to help you create flatter, more device-independent PDFs, so work can be shared, edited and approved by colleagues and clients on the go. Any QuarkXPress objects you add can now interact with placed PDFs, which Quark hope will help you maintain a more transparent workflow.

QR code creator – If you need to get people from a print element of your campaign to the web quickly, this is for you. QuarkXPress 10’s QR code creator lets you generate vector QR codes directly in the program, then style and colour them however you want. vCards, URLs and SMS are all supported.

Layer Enhancements – As layers are now supported in master pages, it’s far easier to make them an integral part of your design. Paste in QuarkXPress 10 also has the ability to remember layers, and automatically create new layers in your target layers if what’s there doesn’t match its memory.

Highlight missing fonts – Worried some of your text uses a missing font? QuarkXPress 10 will helpfully highlight any text that’s lost its font for you – you can even choose your own highlighting colour. Lovely.

Improved support for Japanese, Chinese, Simplified Chinese and Korean typography, including IMEs – Unlikely to be relevant to anyone reading this blog, but we approve of the effort. Our Thai typography could still use some work, though…

A warning to QuarkXPress 8 users: you only have until December 31st to upgrade!

After this release, Quark are amending their upgrade policy so that you can only get discounted upgrades from one version back. Anyone using QuarkXPress 8 can upgrade to 10 at the lower price until December 31st 2013, but after that you’ll have to fork out for a new full licence. This also means that you’ll only be able to upgrade to the inevitable v11 from v10, v12 from v11 and so on, so in the long term you’ll save more if you get (and stay) up to date.

QuarkXPress 10 on Jigsaw24

Want to know more about QuarkXPress 10? Get in touch on 03332 409 306 or at sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and tips, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Helping students with complex learning difficulties communicate at Great Oaks School

Helping students with complex learning difficulties communicate at Great Oaks School


After working with Creative Partnerships and the Department of Electronic Computer Science at Southampton University on a range of new technology trials, Great Oaks School joined Jigsaw24’s e7 Project to see if iPad mini would be able to help students with a range of learning and communication difficulties access the curriculum. The results? Increased engagement and communication, plus one or two surprises…

Download this case study as a PDF

Great Oaks School initially started using iPad as a communication device for SLD (Severe Learning Difficulties) students. Working with Erica Smith from Creative Partnerships and E.A Draffan from the University of Southampton, they attempted to find a digital alternative to their existing PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) and to set up their own social networking system, which eventually became the Go!Platform.

“To make a new symbol for the PECS really is an onerous task,” explained Creative co-ordinator Roger Hardy, “because you have to go to the internet, you need to purchase a license to be able to use the symbols, get the symbol up, print it out, chop that out and velcro it both sides to create a set of new resources. That’s a lot of work for our support staff, so we were originally looking to see if there were ready-made apps on iPad that we could use to replace that.”

Despite some initial frustrations with the apps on offer – many used a different PECS symbol set to Great Oaks’, were “too American”, “gimmicky” or “made the massive assumption that SLD students would be able to navigate away from a page and come back” – Great Oaks’ team were impressed with the potential of iPad, and the volume of resources available through the App Store. They began looking into other potential uses for the device.

Joining the e7 Project

“I was looking on the Internet for organisations that were doing development work with schools and iPad, and Jigsaw24 came up,” said Roger. “Originally, we were told that because of the size of the school we didn’t really qualify. Then I got a call back saying that they were thinking about working with special schools and schools of different sizes and they were happy with what I’d put in writing already and thought it might be worth developing.”

After consulting with their e7 representative, Andy Cain, the Great Oaks team decided to opt for iPad mini during their trial, as these devices were not only easier for children to hold, but included a built-in camera that could be used as part of the school’s many cross-curricular creative projects, and would allow staff to take pictures of real items around school to use as PECS symbols.

Getting staff trained on iPad (and winning over parents)

A few of the teachers at Great Oaks already used iPad as their main device, so were receptive to twilight training sessions run by Erica Smith and creative trainer Ricky Tart. Other staff members were then encouraged to pass on what they’d learned to other users. But “the best way that we’ve found to get people’s skills up is to do projects,” Roger explained. “Working with creative people like Ricky Tart on film-making, animation and poetry projects has really helped to cement the learning that has taken place.

“A lot of our training has happened by one of us seeing what everyone else is doing and saying, ‘ooh, I’d like to do that,’ so we’ve trained each other up. It’s becoming more integrated in the school that we just use iPad. We’re making short films as part of our Arts Week, and we’re going to do that almost completely on the iPad. These films will be entered into several national competitions and really develop the skills of both pupils and staff. We might even use the minute-long preview template in iMovie for making the films. But obviously that is a great way to do training, and it lends itself not only to all the technical elements of making a documentary, but also uploading and editing it.”

Using iPad for project work has also helped the school win over parents who were unsure about the scheme. Using a combination of their e7 iPad mini deployment and the school’s social media site, Go!Platform, students were able to create and upload content for their parents to view before the day was over, so they could catch up with what their children were doing during the day.

“When we had the e7 iPad deployment we were encouraging the kids to film all the time,” said Roger. “I’ve got a three part film of a boy in my class making a clay rhino, and he’s not got great speech and language but you could see him developing as he went along, because he’d seen YouTube videos and he understood the format. It’s the unexpected stuff that’s been really amazing.”

Introducing students to iPad and launching the e7 Project

“When we did the first pilot project, using iPad as a communication tool, I was terrified,” admitted Roger. “One of the very first students looked at it – she’s not a verbal communicator and we thought she’d really like it, but she picked it up and just flung it across the room. But it survived and it’s fine. We’re still using that iPad!”

With the iPad crash-tested, Roger and the rest of the staff set about using sensory apps to acclimatise students with very high support needs to the new devices, and “by time we started the e7 Project with the iPad mini it was completely different. The kids could literally not wait because they’ve already seen iPad devices around the school. Andy from Jigsaw24 came down and we had all the tablets stacked up in a pile with a spotlight on them in the hall, and all the parents came in and [the pupils] couldn’t believe that they were actually taking these things away with them.”

It wasn’t all plain sailing, but Roger and the team found that the sense of ownership generated by a 1:1 scheme like the e7 Project meant that pupils took far better care of their devices than expected. “Of the 40 we had, none were broken. An iPad trolley that moves around and you log in and log out, that’s not really anything to do with you [as a pupil]. But having an iPad that’s yours and that you take home and do all your work on, compose your own music on, that was a huge development. We had one case where [one of our pupils with behavioural difficulties] was losing her temper, she knew she was about to trash the room and she asked someone to hold her iPad mini for her.

Improving speech and communication with iPad and game-based learning

While Great Oaks are still searching for their ideal PECS app (current favourite Widgit Go is still being developed for iOS) they’ve had some major success with MLD students, which Roger puts down to the more interactive, role-based nature of learning through apps and games. “There’s one particular child in my class who’s really weak on speech and language, ” he explained. “He loved [playing Minecraft on the iPad], joined in with everyone else, and as a matter of course if you see a group of children playing Minecraft together, they don’t stop talking and listening. Our speech therapist could not believe how much his speech and language had improved over that one term. And I had to say, to be honest this is solely down to Minecraft, because he wants to be a peer. We are developing a Minecraft after school club in the autumn of 2013.

“If you have a lot of learning difficulties and you’re used to not being able to keep up with everyone, and then suddenly when you immerse yourself in a game, you can become somebody who looks like everybody else, behaves like everybody else in the game. That alter ego is a brand new person. And I think that enabled him or encouraged him to work in that role, because there he was on an equal footing with the others and he had the cognitive capacity to do all the tasks in the game, so the only thing that was holding him back was his own lack of confidence. And now he doesn’t stop talking – he’s alive with it! He talks all the time about getting the iPad mini back.”

The future of Great Oaks’ iPad deployment

After three years of testing out various devices, Great Oaks have now purchased enough iPad devices for all Key Stage 4 pupils. All teaching staff have now been issued with an iPad mini as well. They’re also looking to revamp their Wi-Fi network in order to better support the 70 devices they do have, and are hoping that they’ll be able to access a broader range of apps and features when they leave their local authority and take control of their own IT setup later in the year. And would they recommend the e7 scheme? “I have! I’ve been recommending it to people I know at other schools and have been saying please get in touch with Jigsaw24, because I think maybe they might not be aware the e7 Project exists or think that they won’t qualify, but everyone should ask!”

Download this case study as a PDF

If you want to know more about the e7 Project or iPad in SEN, give the team a call on 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter.

Get £500 cash back on Canon’s C500 (and the Ki Pro Quad!)

Get £500 cash back on Canon’s C500 (and the Ki Pro Quad!)

You can’t move for killer Canon deals at the moment. Not only are they giving everyone the chance to win an amazing racing day at Brands Hatch and now you can get £500 cash back when you buy one of our limited stock of exclusively-priced Canon C500 video cameras.  

We’ve got EF mount Canon C500s in stock for just £13,699 ex VAT – probably the best price you’ll find on the web – but you’ll need to act fast to get your hands on one, as we have very limited stock, and after that they go back up to a (still not unreasonable) £16,399 ex VAT. For a limited time, we’re also offering £500 cash back with this model. Who says no to £500 of free money?

Why choose the Canon C500?

The Canon C500 caught our eye because its four 1080p outputs can be combined to create a single 12-bit 4:4:4 or 10-bit 4:2:2 4K image, meaning that if you pair it with a 4K-capable 4K recorder it becomes a relatively affordable way to kick off your 4K workflow. But even if you’re not looking to do 4K work, it still stands up as a great camera for its price – for a start, you’re getting 12-bit 4:4:4:4 1080p, which is never to be sniffed at, especially if you do a lot of chroma keying or other detail-dependant image processes.

Another favourite feature of ours is the support for frame rates of up to 120p, even at higher resolutions, so we can continue to make the extremely dramatic slow motion videos you occasionally see scattered around the blog.

The combination of EF Cinema Lenses and Canon’s Log Gamma feature delivers the high quality video and wide exposure latitude required by digital cinematographers, while the range of source image formats supported means the C500 is equally at home shooting for cinema (using the DCI/SMPTE 2048-1:2011 standard) or television (using the Quad-HD/SMPTE 2036-1:2009 and ITU-R BT.1769 standards).

And what do you do with your £500? Well, there’s always the Ki Pro Quad…

As you can see from AJA’s demo clip and our previous over-enthusiastic posts, these two are perfect shooting partners, combining to give you the crisp 4K you want from a camera (and a recorder) you can afford. You can buy them as a pair at our website, and we’ll give you the £500 cash back on that bundle, too. Don’t say we never do anything nice.

Want to know more about the Canon range? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Motivating students and liberating staff at Hertfordshire & Essex High School

Motivating students and liberating staff at Hertfordshire & Essex High School


In 2012, The Hertfordshire & Essex High School decided to roll out a 1:1 iPad scheme, starting with their 200 sixth form students. However, they were unsure whether to also offer the devices to staff, as teachers were already provided with a school-managed laptop. They worked with our e7 team to set up a term-long trial in which 40 key staff members were given an iPad.

Pupils in Hertfordshire & Essex High School now have their own iPad to use in lessons and at home

Pupils in Hertfordshire & Essex High School now have their own iPad to use in lessons and at home

“There’s obviously been a huge shift in focus away from desktop PCs towards mobile devices,” explained the school’s Strategic Leader of ICT, Ross Woodall, when asked about the decision to roll out iPad. “We wanted to have a device that was friendly and intuitive for the students to use, and we didn’t want to deploy a Windows-based device and make it part of our domain, because a lot of our services are delivered via web interfaces. We thought that iPad was well made and well supported, and it really engaged and enthused the students. We trialled it with a few students and they were particularly keen on iPad over any other device.”

Trialling iPad with staff

The school rolled out iPad to their sixth form first, partly due to the increasing popularity of the sixth form but also because “we really wanted to provide a device that they could embed in their lessons [from the start of the academic year].” However, after the initial rollout, it was clear that a few of the staff were a bit uncomfortable because some of them were less familiar with Apple products. “We decided to do the e7 trial so that the staff could get some hands-on experience with the iPad and see if it was beneficial as a teaching resource.”

Although our e7 deployments are usually split between staff and students, we were impressed by what the school had planned, and worked with them to identify 40 key staff members who would receive an iPad for a term. The school already provided staff with laptop computers, and one of the main aims of the trial was to assess whether providing an iPad as well would be an effective use of the school’s ICT budget.

“I think the e7 Project was very helpful in reassuring us that iPad for staff was a worthwhile expenditure,” Ross said. “Trialling the device enabled us to see the benefit it brought, while actually supporting the staff. This meant that they could make better use of the hardware with the students, as well as using it themselves. It meant that their teaching became much more mobile. They were able to teach out in the field or the playground if they needed to, and could do audio and video recordings in lessons with no planning needed in advance. Things like that were much, much less viable with a traditional laptop.”

Assessing Mobile Device Management (MDM) options

When the school joined the e7 Project, our team met with them to discuss how they planned to manage their iPad deployment. While many schools are locking down their ICT equipment and filtering the type of apps that their students can download, the Hertfordshire & Essex team decided that when it came to getting older students to buy into the scheme and use their devices as much as possible, freedom was key.

“We felt that in order for the students to really embrace the iPad and make sure it was something that they used constructively, it was more helpful to have the students register them to their own iTunes accounts as opposed to a centralised one that was managed by the school,” explained Ross. “We already have a system where students can borrow laptops, and we found that this was underused because there wasn’t the flexibility [to allow students to put] their software on the laptop they were using, whereas with the iPad, freedom has allowed them to become a much more valuable resource rather than just being another item to carry round. We have very responsible students, so I’m sure we have the odd game installed on the devices, but we see them being used a lot for taking notes and recording lessons (to video or audio). I think that’s really valuable for them, the ability to access the teaching outside of the lesson.”

“We felt that in order for the students to really embrace the iPad and make sure it was something that they used constructively, it was more helpful to have the students register them to their own iTunes accounts as opposed to a centralised one that was managed by the school,”

“We felt that in order for the students to really embrace the iPad and make sure it was something that they used constructively, it was more helpful to have the students register them to their own iTunes accounts as opposed to a centralised one that was managed by the school,”

Increasing usage while maintaining network security

The school’s tactic of keeping the iPad deployment relatively open seems to be paying off: they rolled out a new WiFi network to support the deployment, and of the 170 devices they handed out, Ross has seen “a hundred and twenty Apple devices connected all day, every day. We’ll have between 170 and 180 devices on the wireless network daily and seventy five per cent of them will be Apple devices.”

And how does the school cope with having so many unmanaged devices on their network? “We deliver a lot of our services through web interfaces: our VLE, our email and remote desktop access – all of that is accesible through a web browser. All devices on the wireless network authenticate against our Windows domain and all traffic is transmitted securely.”

Encouraging more mobile teaching and learning

When it comes to working with the iPad, the school is happy for students to take the lead, encouraging them to use the devices for general note-taking, research and organisation rather than structuring lessons round specific apps. “We have many teachers who have really embraced the iPad in their teaching,” Ross noted, “particularly the arts and the technology faculties. PE and music are using them a tremendous amount and designing lessons around them – I think a lot of that is to do with the touch interface and the flexibility and portability that you get with the device, which really feeds into those faculties.

“PE and sports sciences are now able to film people moving [using the iPad] and play that back so they can analyse it frame by frame. I think that sort of thing is much easier for the teacher compared with borrowing one of the school’s cameras and having to take it back to the classroom to analyse the video. [With iPad they are] able to record and play it back and have instant feedback. It’s also very nice that students can project via an Apple TV in the classroom to show what they’re working on at their desk. You get collaborative use of a projector, with everybody in a class connecting to show what they’re working on and share their ideas, and that’s really quite valuable.”

The school’s next initiative is to deploy Apple TVs throughout the school and use them to allow students to share their work with the rest of the class. “We held off on rolling them out originally because the firmware didn’t quite offer the level of security we wanted,” Ross explained. “We were worried that a student would be able to share content via an Apple TV from anywhere in the school unless there was some way of locking them down. But one of the updates has enabled us to have a PIN-based access to the Apple TVs [that prevents people without the right password from sharing content].”

Once there are Apple TVs throughout the school, Ross and his team plan to look at ways to allow multiple teachers to FaceTime with a class during lessons in order to explain key points. “For example, if we have a teacher who’s teaching some tiny aspect of computing in a design technology or graphics lesson, they’ll actually be able to FaceTime with one of the IT teachers over the projector to explain that specific point, so you can pull that expertise directly into the lesson.”

You can find out more about the e7 Project on Jigsaw24.com. Alternatively, get in touch on 03332 409 306 or at learning@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, reviews and app recommendations, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter

Video: Unboxing Blackmagic Design’s Pocket Cinema Camera

Video: Unboxing Blackmagic Design’s Pocket Cinema Camera

When we received one of the first seven Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Cameras to hit the UK’s shores, we did what any right-thinking technical company would do – handed it over to our marketing department and let them thoroughly embarrass themselves while unboxing it.

Does it tell you much about what the camera can do? No. Are there numerous helpful tips on getting optimal performance from your Pocket Cinema Camera? No. But you do get to find out what a new Pocket Cinema Camera smells like, and there’s a funny bit with an SD card (our head of media and entertainment promptly took the Pocket Cinema Camera away to shoot some actual test footage, which we’ll have up soon, along with his notes).

You can pre-order the Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera from our site now – and we’ll even give you £100 off if you buy a 14-140mm Panasonic lens at the same time.

Want to know more about the Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Facebook page.