Over the next two years, 54,000 iPads will be given to Glasgow school pupils and teachers across the city as part of its digital learning strategy in schools.
The scheme has already begun in the Shawlands learning community on Glasgow’s South Side. All of the teachers at Shawlands Academy have already been assigned their iPads.
Claire Harvey, quality improvement officer with a remit for digital learning, emphasised that the focus of the scheme was learning and teaching, and not just the tech aspect.
She said: “This is helping our children and young people adapt to a digital world. It’s been shown that 90% of jobs in Scotland involve digital work and so our pupils will be ready for the workplace.
“Using new technology allows our pupils to collaborate – it gives them confidence. Curriculum for Excellence is all about allowing pupils to lead their own learning and that is exactly what we are seeing happen when children and young people work with digital.”
As part of the scheme, parents and pupils will have to sign an agreement before the iPad can be taken home – parents can refuse to allow their child to bring it home. The apps available to download on the device will be limited for cyber security reasons. Teachers will be able to assign homework electronically and provide recorded feedback on work that pupils can listen to.
For those without access to Wi-Fi, they will be guided to libraries and homework clubs where they can get online. To limit the cost to parents, pupils will be able to able to charge their devices at school at charge banks – a full charge will cost £0.01.
Teachers Welcome New Scheme
As part of the scheme, each school will have a digital head of learning (DLOL) who will be responsible for leading the project in their school. Interactive whiteboards in classrooms and playrooms are set to be replaced by Apple TV and all P6 to S6 pupils will be assigned their own iPad while children from early years up to P5 the ratio will be one iPad between five pupils.
A model classroom has been established on the top floor of Royston Primary school as a base for the Leaders of Learning teams. Patrick McGrory, faculty head of technology at Shawlands Academy is his school’s DLOL said that the teachers had been very receptive to the scheme and were already looking at innovative ways to incorporate them into the learning process.
McGrory said: “One of the many benefits is that pupils who need additional support can have their learning tailored on the iPad specifically to them without any of their classmates knowing. So the equipment helps with inclusion and it is very subtly done.
“In my subject, design technology, we are used to learning new things from out pupils because young people are at the forefront of technology. So we expect that with the iPads, learning will be going both ways.”
Councillor Chris Cunningham, City Convener for Education, Skills & Early Years, said: “This is a really exciting time for our schools and an amazing opportunity to digitally enhance the learning and teaching opportunities in our classrooms.
“We want our children and young people to be equipped with the skills that will make them true digital citizens and will result in raising attainment and achievement in every one of our schools and nurseries. This is the biggest Apple education project in Europe and Glasgow is once again leading the way in innovative practices.”