A HIGH school has become the first in Rossendale to introduce iPad Minis for students to use in all lessons and at home.
Haslingden High School has taken the bold step after undertaking considerable research, monitoring how the technology has been introduced in other schools and in close consultation with parents.
Headteacher Mark Jackson said: “This is definitely not a gimmick and it will lead to improvements in what the students learn and how they learn.
“Lessons can be much more engaging using iPads and it will enhance learning in the classrooms. Giving students instant access to technology whenever it is required will help them become more independent and be better prepared for further study and the demands of the 21st century work environment.”
Deputy Headteacher Gill Smith added: “The iPad is a creative tool to support teaching and learning presenting an opportunity to significantly enhance the classroom experience. We do not see iPads replacing pen and paper but already some teachers are working more creatively by experimenting with electronic feedback and teaching students how to annotate digital textbook images.
In September, iPads were issued to all staff and now the programme has been rolled out to students in Years 7, 8 and 9 with parents making a financial contribution to the scheme, underpinned by a partnership with a charitable organisation called the E-Learning Foundation.
Assistant Headteacher for E-Learning, Justin Roper led the rollout of the programme. Although some staff couldn’t wait to have the technology, some were uncertain as to how it would improve learning.
Senior IT technician Damian Green said: “We worked with staff early in the programme so that they had a head start and could learn how to use the iPads effectively.”
Apprentice IT technician Daniel Wilson held a series of training sessions for staff on key applications and has been supporting teachers in the classroom.
Headteacher Mark Jackson added: “There has been a significant investment from the school and the site is now equipped with Wi-Fi. The cost of the scheme is also being subsidised. Some of our parents, who may be facing difficult financial circumstances have said it is a good scheme at a level they can afford.”
Already more than 700 iPad minis have been distributed to students and although 10 per cent of parents initially did not sign up to the scheme, this figure is decreasing daily.
The school is firm about expectations and the use of the iPads is restricted to the classroom only. Students are not allowed to use them in corridors or at break and lunchtimes.
Mr Green said he had already noticed a difference around the school. He said: “The students are engaged in their lessons and are happy to use a device that they are familiar with at home. They are ready to learn straight away.”
Network manager James Gansler said: “It puts the Internet into every classroom instead of just in the ICT rooms and the technology is being used to effectively enhance lessons whenever appropriate.
Students in other year groups have been offered a lease scheme for iPads, or the option to buy one outright.
From now on meetings will be held with parents of new Year 7 students each year to explain and grow the scheme in coming years.