When Reed’s HMC Independent Day and Boarding School in Surrey started their 1:1 iPad journey in 2018, they weren’t prepared to be blown away by the plethora of benefits that followed and how easy it made their transition to remote learning at the start of lockdown. We spoke to their Head of Digital Learning, Gareth Hart, to find out more and get his advice for anyone considering a 1:1 rollout.
Reed’s started their 1:1 iPad journey with a view to equipping every pupil from Year 7 to 11 with their own device to prepare them for the future, ensure they’re digitally literate, and help them develop into responsible, safe and critical users of technology. After initial small-scale trials, they decided the iPad was the best device thanks to its long battery life, portability, reliability, security and vast range of high-quality apps.
We visited the senior leadership team and subject leads at Reed’s to discuss their needs and how we could assist them. Over the course of two days, we worked closely to plan their rollout and ensure it supported their vision and goals. We also provided a coaching programme with our Apple Professional Learning Specialist to introduce their teaching and support staff to iPad and the different features they could use to get the most of their devices, and confidently use them across the curriculum. This covered built-in accessibility features they could use to support children with additional needs. We also observed teaching and use of the devices in the classroom, recommending tailored advice based on our observations.
Gareth explained the benefits: "We found the planning section invaluable. It enabled us to think about the process and assign roles to everyone involved in setting up and maintaining the 1:1 iPad project. The team from Jigsaw24 were instrumental in ensuring that all stakeholders were involved in the planning process and that every facet of the project was carefully thought about."
“Since we introduced iPad, teaching and learning advantages have been abundant,” Gareth told us.“Despite home schooling during the pandemic, Assessment for Learning (AfL) has improved thanks to quizzing apps such as Socrative, that have helped to highlight gaps in learning and consolidate topics. Collaborative working has vastly improved too. Because pupils have their own devices, everyone can easily contribute to group tasks so there is no longer the need for one student to take the lead and write up their group’s findings. Teachers can also see how much each pupil has contributed.”
There have also been some surprising benefits: the school has discovered Microsoft’s short video app, Flipgrid, has been effective in empowering introverted class members – “they’re much more willing topresent their work to their class members from the comfort of their home,” Gareth cheered.
“The iPads have shaped our lessons in a very positive way because there is a huge range of ways we can use them to increase our learning – we can use Kahoots, Quizz, Nearpod and more.” Joshua, year 10.
But it’s not just students who have benefited. Gareth explained teachers have experienced advantages too:“Having everything on the cloud instead of logging in via the remote desktop has been a huge benefit for collaborative working amongst staff.
“Microsoft compatibility has been seamless too, with apps such as Teams and OneNote proving to be invaluable resources. Marking has also been revolutionised, with teaching staff no longer having to carry heavy piles of books thanks to the ability to set, receive and mark work in OneNote.”
Gareth added: “Eliminating the need to photocopy worksheets by using OneNote has given teachers more time to plan great lessons, provide more detailed feedback and turn marked work around more quickly.”
“Reed’s has been a shining example to our pupils since lockdown, when the school had to physically close its doors to most of our children. The school has adapted and delivered a brilliant virtual version of the school day.
“The online teaching has been brilliant and given our sons focus and purpose.” Kate, parent.
Gareth has some key advice: “Firstly, do your research on your back-end infrastructure and carry out a future-proof check to ensure it’s sufficient for your future needs. We installed additional WiFi points around the school building to reduce weak spots, increase our bandwidth and ensure our network could handle the additional devices and demand. We also undertook some server preparation.
“Once you’ve prepared your infrastructure, start off small and roll out devices to teachers first, then a year group at a time. We completed our rollout over the course of two and a half years. By doing this we were prepared, teachers weren’t overwhelmed by the technology and everything ran smoothly. Consequently, when the pandemic hit, we were well placed to seamlessly move to remote teaching and rapidly complete our rollout and distribute iPads to pupils who needed devices. By doing this, we are now at the stage where our teachers are far more confident using technology in lessons and are more willing to experiment with technology.”
Gareth also recommends taking advantage of iPad training: “We also found training for teaching staff incredibly beneficial. Mike Watkinson and his team at Jigsaw24 were extremely helpful, and their sessions were useful in providing concrete examples of where and how iPads can be used. This helped familiarise us with the different iPad features and gave our teachers more confidence in using the devices. It also showed us how we could use quizzing apps such as Socrative and Kahoot to assist Assessment for Learning and see if any learning needs revisiting. Jigsaw24 also provided a professional coaching course for our Year 5 staff, which helped us analyse our lessons and equipped us to train other teachers.”
“Working with Jigsaw24 has been an absolute pleasure. Not only have they made our transition to digital devices seamless, they also offer unparalleled support. Our account manager always goes the extra mile and informed. His sound advice ensured our teaching and learning continued despite the COVID pandemic.”
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