Access to ICT for every student, inside and outside the school gates... that's the potential unlocked by RM Education's new Personal Device Scheme. Find out how one secondary school is using the scheme to complement its visionary approach to learning.
Cramlington Learning Village, a large secondary school in the North-East of England, uses a scheme offered by RM Education to harness the latest mobile technology and extend learning way beyond the classroom. It's a step entirely in keeping with the school's far-reaching vision for technology in education, and a commitment to personalised learning that has seen it rated 'Outstanding' in its last three Ofsted inspections.
Going to secondary school for the first time is an exciting step for all children, but perhaps even more so for the new crop of Year 7s arriving at Cramlington Learning Village. The September 2011 intake got their new lesson timetables, but loaded onto the school's Learning Platform, which they access via a new Samsung Galaxy Tablet.
RM Education supplies the equipment but also organises maintenance, support, insurance and arrangements for collecting the voluntary contribution that parents pay.
CLV already made a variety of computers, cameras, webcams, voice recorders, etc. available to students - but not on a 1:1 basis and only after booking out. To help students learn independently it needed a single device for each student, combining all these resources.
The school chose the Galaxy Tablet partly because its plans included developing its own educational apps. Its team of three web developers can create apps and games and easily upload them to the Android platform.
The Tablet's size - small enough to fit in a schoolbag, big enough to work on - was another deciding factor. Cramlington Learning Village believed that the roll-out of mobile devices would only work on a universal basis, and after consultation 91% of parents of the new intake agreed to take part. Of the rest, most already had mobile devices.
Education is only now beginning to dip its toes in the water. We intend to take more than just a dip and to help our whole school community to become confident swimmers...
The decision to equip its new Year 7s with mobile devices was a logical step for CLV, a school that believes strongly in developing independent learners, through a mix of educational styles including 'enquiry-based' learning.
The school's philosophy has been influenced by research done by Sugata Mitra in the 'Hole in the wall' project. This showed how groups of children given the right technology could learn independently without any intervention from teachers.
Cramlington Learning Village already had an ambitious E-Learning strategy: 'The explosion of information and emergence of some truly amazing technologies provide us with a great number of possibilities within the field of education and education is only now beginning to dip its toes in the water. We intend to take more than just a dip and to help our whole school community to become confident swimmers…'
The Tablets were connected to the school network, allowing access without a password. This meant that the initial roll-out was focussed on teaching children how to use the devices, not on getting the devices to work.
Teachers helped the children familiarise themselves with the devices, and made sure they understood how to use them responsibly, and what was expected of them in the agreement signed by their parents. A teacher from each department became an 'ICT Champion', to help promote the use of the devices throughout the curriculum. ICT Champions meet regularly to discuss any problems and promote greater innovation in the use of the devices.
Students now use the device daily. They access the Learning Platform to get their lesson timetable and homework along with extra resources designed to help them when they get stuck. They can also submit their completed homework using the device -
so there's no more 'Sir, the dog ate it!'.
Teaching staff and the school's team of web developers have also developed their own apps to support learning. The apps send teachers feedback on how well each student is 'playing', and can use this information to give help where it's needed.
RM Education provide a comprehensive set of operational services for the project:
CLV considered various devices and, following a detailed evaluation, decided to opt for the Android-based Samsung Tablet.
The school will replace the devices after three years, and give the old Tablets to the students for their own use.
As this is an Equity scheme, offered to all, the school is able to claim back the tax on the purchase. As the money paid by parents is classed as a donation there is no need to include VAT on the payments they make. Another advantage is that the school can claim Gift Aid on parental donations, which can then be used to make the scheme more affordable.
The school hosts an annual conference on learning and teaching every June. As part of the conference it will be sharing its vision for ICT, information about the Personal Device Scheme and everyday examples of how students are making use of mobile technology. For more details about the conference please visit the school website, www.cramlingtonlv.co.uk.
If you wish to contact the school directly please email Phil Spoors, Assistant Head Teacher with responsibility for e-learning, firstname.lastname@example.org
|Address:||Highburn, Northumberland NE23 6BN|
|Contact:||Phil Spoors, Assistant Head Teacher, e-Learning|
What do other people think about this article? What do you think?
This seems to be an excellent plan to make it possible to broaden a child's world.On the face of it, the scheme looks quite feasible, although I would have to do some research on this matter. I have found the internet a marvellous introduction to the web. I just need to know more.
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