Apple in Education Profiles
At Cedars School of Excellence in Greenock, Scotland, iPad support for every five to 17 year old has dramatically improved learning. The biggest effect is on the boys. Students with special needs also work much more confidently.
Head teacher Alison Speirs is committed to harnessing technology to improve children’s learning progress. Using MacBook laptops showed how mobile technology can lift achievement and motivation in the school. Speirs and her staff agreed that even greater learning benefits could be gained if each student had a personal digital device.
Teachers wanted a personal device that was small but robust, with good battery life for use in and outside the classroom. It had to be big enough to type into easily, with a vibrant colour screen to present documents, spreadsheets and graphics. It had to provide innovative education apps to meet every challenge, and fast online access to aid student research.
When the iPad was launched, teachers saw that an exciting solution was at hand. The school acquired one for every child, making Cedars the world’s first 1-to-1 iPad deployment for such a wide age band. Many teachers were so enthusiastic, they bought their own.
The iPad has been ideal for promoting new ways to learn. Cedars has children with a range of different learning abilities. Those with mild dyslexia find recording their work boosts confidence, and increasing iPad screen size helps them read text more easily. The iPad also helps children avoid embarrassment in front of classmates. Teachers can privately email work sheets tailored to each child’s ability level.
“iPad is the natural medium for modern children of all ages and abilities.”
— Alison Speirs, Head Teacher, Cedars School of Excellence
Cedars School for Excellence is independent. The costs of the 1-to-1 programme are built into the fee structure for each child. Costs include leasing, acquiring apps, and networking infrastructure enhancements such as increased broadband speed. A three-year lease agreement with Apple keeps the technology refreshed.
Preparation was much quicker than expected. One-year implementation plans were reduced to one month. The school ran in-service training to help teachers develop their ideas. Parents had information sessions to explain how the iPad could involve them more in children’s learning. Students over the age of 10 can take their iPad home, while under 10s have each iPad stored at school. The devices are synched class by class, and apps are loaded by the school’s IT team. Although the iPad is carried around and used in and out of the classroom by all children, only one of the 130 devices has ever had to be repaired. The new Scottish curriculum puts more focus on teachers to assess children’s learning progress. Teachers at Cedars use Basecamp on their iPad to set up individual profiles and collect student work examples. They can then track performance during the year. Parents are able to assess and help improve children’s learning.
Cognitive, emotional and learning engagement has increased in lessons using the iPad. The improvement is particularly impressive amongst boys, who are reaching similar engagement levels to girls. The school reports better behaviour, mainly because with iPad there is never any ‘down time’.
Products they useiPad
This is a whole new kind of device, and it’s poised to change the learning landscape. Learn more about iPadMacBook Pro
This notebook computer is great for learning both inside and outside the classroom. Learn more about MacBook ProiPod touch
This pocket computer is great for learning both inside and outside the classroom. Learn more about iPod touch