If you’re at the helm of a trust of 13 schools or manage their IT, you could be mistaken in thinking that rolling out iPad to every pupil is an ambitious goal. While you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking it’s a big project, it’s a challenge that Red Kite Learning Trust are working towards.
Following the previous success of 1:1 iPad schemes at two of their schools – Harrogate Grammar School and Western Primary School – the trust are working with Jigsaw24 to deliver iPad to every student across all of their 13 schools. We spoke to their I.T. Lead for Teaching and Learning, Adam Daly, to find out what made them decide to go ahead with the project and to see how things are progressing.
When Red Kite Learning Trust initially started to explore the idea of going 1:1, it was off the back of already starting to see success within Harrogate Grammar and Western Primary schools. In both locations, the trust had worked with other IT providers and could see the potential of rolling the model out further but needed a single education IT expert who could handle the deployment and provide ongoing support.
Red Kite engaged with us through the Pagabo purchasing framework. After meeting the stringent requirements, our specialist education team engaged with their project leads to get the wheels in motion and get to the bottom of the project’s goals.
The main aim of a 1:1 scheme was to help level the playing field across all pupils in the trust. They wanted to remove the barriers that were sometimes a challenge when trying to give students a similar learning experience and maximise successes of using native iPad features to support children with EAL and SEND.
An improved experience and better continuity between the classroom and home environments were also essential. Not only would 1:1 enable a flipped learning experience, where students could take ownership of their learning by familiarising themselves with resources and topics before lessons, it would also enable communication if they needed to isolate or were ill. Adam told us it was important for them to “have measures of success so you can see if it is improving,” and for them it was about ownership, continuity, and affordability – a true breaking down of barriers for all students.
“1:1 devices have helped with inclusion across the board, from supporting children with SEND to challenging more able pupils. They make learning dynamic and allow me to instantly respond to individual’s needs. In all my years of teaching I’ve never seen children more engaged with learning.”
Mrs Griffith, Year 5 teacher
Since the project’s inception, we have been working with Red Kite to understand their vision and goals and get the wheels in motion. The project has been underway for 18 months so far and during that time we have been working with them to bring together the specific requirements of their 13 schools – to understand the bespoke needs of each and improve collaboration across them all.
As part of the project, there was a requirement to improve the networks within the schools in readiness for so many additional devices needing WiFi access during the school day. Adam explained: “We needed to prepare the network for additional devices so that it was fast and resilient, and devices would work. We had to do a lot of work to ours.”
Adam also went on to explain that the foundations of the project were as much about mobile device management (MDM) as they were about WiFi: “We didn’t have a proper mobile device management solution before, but we now use Jamf so implementing 1:1 is now much easier and teachers can control devices and see what students are using.” Offering advice to other schools, Adam added: “rolling out 1:1 devices can be resource-hungry due to the volume of devices that need to be managed so having MDM is essential in supporting your IT team and ensuring devices have the right apps, are on the right WiFi network and policies are set.”
With a fast and stable network and management solution now in place, all schools are connected to each other allowing for improved collaboration from one site to another.
For those schools where 1:1 devices have already been deployed there have already been some great successes and improvements in communication. Adam explains: “Microsoft 365 and Teams notifications, emails and parental logins have all helped improve communication for teachers, parents, students and IT teams. It’s also now a simple process to get stakeholders from multiple schools on Teams meetings and much more, without a requirement to have 13 different Microsoft accounts and email addresses.”
The schools using 1:1 iPad devices are also seeing the benefit of using iPad apps to change processes and workflows: “Another advantage is students getting the same information at the same time, and teachers being able to monitor who has accessed materials.” Just by allowing students to always stay connected to teachers is helping to give them a more consistent experience. And if that sounds daunting for teachers, Red Kite have actually found it’s reduced their workload by smoothing out the process of setting, receiving and marking work right there on the devices.
The early adopters of 1:1 are also finding that, not only is improved communication helping to give students a more consistent experience, iPad is allowing resources to be easily and discreetly differentiated, helping children’s confidence. Now, teachers can differentiate resources by apps and native software on the iPad, removing the stigma of children receiving differentiated printed resources in front of their peers. Students can also share and take pride in their work through Apple TV, and can make use of Apple’s built-in accessibility and translation tools, regardless of whether they are in the classroom or at home.
By taking both the teachers and parents with them on the journey to 1:1, the trust has actually found innovative ways to use iPad that they hadn’t even planned for such as online parents’ evenings and hybrid school open evenings as Adam explains when talking about the benefits of training: “Ensure teachers have training in how best to use iPad across different subjects such as math, PE and science and the benefits will be seen in ways not even imagined.”
“We get to do a lot more on the iPads as we only had chance to work once a week in the computer suite. I don’t enjoy reading much but I enjoy reading on an iPad as you get digital rewards for reading.”
L, Year 5 pupil
The next stage in the project is to continue the roll out of devices across all primary and secondary schools. With Crawshaw Academy Secondary School looking set to go 1:1 in January 2022, everything is in place to continue to hit Red Kit’s project goals. Jigsaw24 will be working with all schools to ensure the preparation, roll out and ongoing support of those devices remains second to none, ensuring schools can continue to focus on teaching and learning without the worry of IT.
“Jigsaw24 have been invaluable. They challenged our preconceptions, supported our aspirations, and helped us carefully consider how we could introduce iPads in the best possible way for our students.
“We've been fortunate enough to have their whole school training which left staff so inspired, they couldn’t wait to use their iPads. They were also able to adapt to lockdown and deliver training in person, remotely and simultaneously!”
Andrew Morley, Deputy Head, Austhorpe Primary School
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