Battle Hill Primary School first got a taste of the full capabilities of iPad for education during lockdown. Now, firmly on the other side of the “new normal”, they’ve partnered with us to expand 1:1 provision across the school and deliver more personalised teaching and learning.
North Tyneside Learning Trust’s Battle Hill Primary School started their iPad journey in 2014, when they acquired one classroom set of iPad, which each class would get to use once or twice a week. But as further staff training helped them understand the value of technology in the classroom, they realised they could achieve far more with a 1:1 iPad deployment. They eventually decided to start rolling out iPad 1:1 in Year 5 and 6, and then proceeded to roll it out to younger students as well.
Increasing the number of iPad in the school did lead to some challenges. Before that, Stephanie Brown, class teacher and ICT Lead, had been managing the devices individually, but balancing her full-time teaching schedule and device management duties soon became overwhelming. The bubble restrictions imposed during the pandemic also prevented her from engaging with students in certain classes.
Battle Hill Primary School decided to adopt a more streamlined approach to management through Jamf School. Jamf School is a device management solution designed specifically for education that helps with device setup, user information management and security, as well as providing a wide arrange of tools to help teachers streamline class workflows.
“It was a pretty straightforward switch”, says Stephanie. “We had an engineer just come in and set up all the iPad on Jamf School.” This proved to be the perfect tool to ease the transition to 1:1 and assist with configuration, as it allowed the school to use a zero-touch deployment model that saved time and ensured the students had the tools they needed.
Along with Jamf School, Battle Hill Primary School also transitioned to Managed Apple IDs, special accounts that can be managed by the school at scale and allow teachers and students to access a wealth of educational and safety features that enhance the classroom experience.
A robust training programme ensured the staff were all on the same page before deployment even began. “We invested in more training for the staff to get Key Stage 1 up and running. Paul Tullock (one of Jigsaw24’s Professional Development Consultants) came in and helped us put together a training package for our new staff mentors, so that they could support the teachers and help them use iPad to its full potential,” says Stephanie.
Teachers can also be confident that they have a plan for how to use the technology in the classroom and that help is available internally if they have queries.
“At the beginning, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with iPad, because it is massive. There are so many things you can use in terms of apps – especially when you go on training courses, and people are just firing ideas at you,” says Stephanie. “So we worked with Paul to choose core apps for each year, and designed this rollout so it’s progressive, adding more apps every year. It builds on as the students grow through school, and they have a very good understanding of everything – they’ve actually surprised us!”
It is crucial to have access to specialised support not only to select the core apps but to assist with rollout across the school. Jigsaw24 took a bespoke approach and worked with Battle Hill Primary School to assess exactly what was required and what the best strategy for rollout was.
There have been teaching and learning benefits, too. iPad is a great way to increase interactivity in the classroom and open doors to brand new ways of learning – and Battle Hill Primary School saw the benefits of their investment right away.
“For example, now we’re using screen recording, which sounds really simple,” says Stephanie, “but it’s all about split learning. We’ll ask the child to screen record how they’ve done their exercise, they’ll upload to Showbie and we can see where they’ve gone wrong and what they’ve done right. We can AirPlay it to the board and show the other children – it’s really good to show them they can work in different ways and still get the correct answer. It's great, they are taking ownership of their learning. They love seeing their work on the board and being the teacher, almost,” Stephanie explains.
iPad has brought many other benefits to the school, for example, growing their curriculum with new possibilities like using Scratch to teach programming or using Lego robots to deliver practical lessons about coding. It’s also easier to switch to online learning if a student or staff member needs to self-isolate or take time off, allowing them to catch up more quickly.
Stephanie herself is pleasantly surprised by how quickly the students have taken to the new tech and how responsible they are with it. “They bring in their iPad like it’s part of their uniform,” she says. “They know it’s not a toy, it’s not to play on, and you never hear the words ‘can I play on the iPad’, because it’s a learning device. We set them challenges to do, they have maths apps for when they finish their work. I think people expect they will sit there and play games all day, but that’s just not the case at all. They really took ownership of what iPad is for.”
The technology has benefitted staff on many levels, from cutting their workloads to helping them implement more creative ways of teaching. With iPad, the teacher is no longer tied to the classroom whiteboard and can move around the classroom, sitting with any pupil to help with questions while the class can continue working through the activities. iPad also has features that help with grading and marking up homework, and it’s faster to make resources for the next day and upload them directly to Showbie, saving time and reducing printing costs.
“Going 1:1 from Year 1 has been the greatest success in my opinion,” says Steph. “I never imagined when I took over as ICT Lead that we’d get to that point so quickly, though I think COVID pushed things forward. It’s made a massive difference. You think a five-year-old bringing an iPad to school isn’t going to work, but it has – they’ve amazed us. It’s like clockwork, I never thought it would be as easy, but it has,” explains Stephanie.
1:1 iPad deployment has been just the tool that Battle Hill Primary School needed, not just to face the challenges of COVID-19, but also to increase productivity and interactivity in the classroom. The more iPad they roll out, the more they have found their learning is enhanced.
“People who know children in other schools, cousins and friends – they say ‘oh, I wish my school did that.’ It’s nice to hear you’re doing something that’s benefitting the children, and that’s what we want, at the end of the day.
“It’s been a seamless process and it’s really worked for our school. What I’d say to anyone who’s wanting to deploy iPad in their school is, don’t limit yourselves, don’t put the blocks in the way because sometimes they won’t even hold you back as much as you think. It just works.”
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