January 2015: High school leads way in new technology

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A ROSSENDALE high school has become the latest national Apple Regional Training Centre and will lead the introduction of iPad technology into East Lancashire schools.

Haslingden High School introduced iPad Minis for students nine months ago and Deputy Headteacher Gill Smith, who was instrumental in bringing the technology to the school, said it heralded a change in pedagogy – the science of teaching.

On Tuesday around 80 guests, including many representatives from schools and colleges in Rossendale and Accrington, visited the school for the launch of the training centre and to find out how the technology has enhanced learning.

Mrs Smith said: “This technology was something that had been introduced in my previous school when we gave students iPad Touches. Then when I came here, the delivery of IT was part of my remit.”

The governors supported Mrs Smith’s idea and several meetings were held with parents to explain how the programme would work and to allay any fears.

Now pupils from Years 7-10 use iPad Minis and on the night students held a series of demonstrations to show the practical application of the technology in various subjects from design technology to sport.

“In maths, students have commented how much they have grown to love the subject because iPads have enabled them to receive instant feedback and help them to understand the concepts better,” said Mrs Smith. “When a lesson finishes the teacher sends students an exit questionnaire on their iPad so they can check understanding and then use the data to prepare for the next lesson.

“In PE students now video themselves and using coaching apps, can watch the video to see how to improve by comparing the clip to a split screen clip of a professional.”

Guest speaker at the launch was Abdul Chohan, Director at ESSA Academy in Bolton, which was one of the first schools to introduce handheld personal devices to replace laptop trolleys.

Students at his school speak 44 different languages with some having no English when they start.

In the school’s latest Ofsted inspectors noted: “Teachers use well the students’ access to hand-held technology to promote investigative skills and to ensure that students reflect on their learning.”

Since the technology was introduced at Essa Acadamy, the schools results have improved and the school’s photocopying budget has been slashed by two thirds.

A series of 12 free courses will be held at Haslingden High School this year for education providers in East Lancashire to introduce and support the use of iPads and iMacs. For more information contact Haslingden High School on 01706 215726 or click on the school website www.haslingdenhigh.com/apple-rtc/