Technology is continually evolving. At Penryn College we have invested significantly over the years ensuring that all students have access to the best technology available to support their learning. Increasingly businesses, individuals and universities are moving away from using traditional PCs; for many, tablets are now the preferred method to access technology and the Internet.
In just a few short years it has become quite common for schools to issue all students with iPads. To compete globally our students will need to be skilled at applying technology in creative and relevant ways. We do not expect our students and teachers to use iPads all the time but we do expect that they will be selective and creative in the use of this technology, preparing students for life at college and in the workplace.
All students having an iPad in all lessons brings enormous benefits to teaching and learning. Teachers and students have an incredible range of learning tools at their fingertips. Students tell us how much they value active and collaborative learning. The iPad allows students to share their work, their presentations and their performances with others. Students are able to hand in work through the iPad and receive feedback from the teacher in the same way. Students are able to research any subject immediately and have access to a range of materials that they can compare, evaluate and select from.
An MB Learning Report in 2013 surveyed 220 students, aged between 14 and 18 in 55 schools across Britain. 95% of students said that digital technology helped them learn independently, while 70% said it made learning more exciting. We know our students at Penryn share this passion as do our teachers.
However, we are fully aware that there are concerns about students having access to this technology. This is one of the reasons we have waited so long before taking this step. In the past year alone there have been significant advances in the management of iPad devices and in the development of new filtering systems for them. We have compared a range of filtering systems and have selected what is widely believed to be the best educational filtering system for iPads – Lightspeed. This allows us all kinds of controls over the Internet usage on our iPads. Similarly the management system for these means that the school can set limits on how the iPad is used. We work closely with the Parents’ Forum and the Student Council to use these controls as helpfully as possible.
We met with the Parents’ Forum and the Student Council several times to discuss iPads before we introduced them. The frequently asked questions below have come from these meetings. We very much want to work with students and their families to ensure that everybody feels clear and confident about the iPads.
One of our key aims is to help students learn how to use this technology responsibly. For instance, we could severely limit the use of the machines in all kinds of ways: we could disable cameras; we could stop students accessing the Internet in the evenings. However, will this really help students prepare themselves for life at college and in the workplace? The detail of what is decided here is something we will continue to consult with parents and students about. Our mission is to balance our students’ security with their curiosity and creativity.
Questions and answers
Hopefully the FAQ’s below will help answer any questions you might have, if you have any further queries that are not covered, please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com
The iPad is the property of Penryn College.
If, in the first instance, it appears that the damage is genuinely accidental, the insurance will cover the cost of repair or replacement. Any further damages or loss will lead to a parental contribution of £50 prior to the student being issued with a repaired or replacement iPad.
The iPads are unattractive to thieves because the school’s management system controls them remotely, this means we can track and close down any iPad reported missing. The warranty and insurance will cover any costs here. The school will provide all the necessary insurance, parents will not need to add the iPad to their home insurance.
The iPads will be part of your child's learning equipment in much the same way as a pen, a ruler or the school organiser. The iPad is a fantastic tool for research, for sharing and recording work, and for making learning more visual and interactive. However, we do not anticipate that your child will be using the iPad all day every day. It is one learning tool of many. The iPad will also allow all children at home to be able to use the same level of technology to complete their work.
We have purchased the most advanced and education specific filtering system available. This enables us to filter any use of the Internet on the iPads just as we currently filter the use on the school’s own network. This filtering system is incredibly flexible and allows us to set up different types of access to the Internet for different students. We can force the iPad to access the internet only though this system, even when it is in the home.
We are able to centrally manage each iPad. We are currently working with parents and students to decide how much availability there should be in the evenings. If necessary, we can limit usage in the evening to just one hour for all our iPads, or limit features available at different times. We can also limit what sites they use so it may be that we do not allow access to social networking sites.
We believe that providing all students with the same level of digital resource is an excellent way to help all our students. We would always seek to work with parents who have concerns to see what they are and how we might be able to address them. However, it will not be essential for every child to have an iPad; they will be able to share iPads during lessons, if necessary, and homework will not rely on them having access to an iPad. If needed, students will be set alternative, non iPad based tasks.
It is possible that your child could use their iPad to link to your home Internet. There is also the possibility that they may download material onto their iPad. We can monitor and allow this through our filtering system, if we decide it is appropriate. If you do not have the internet at home it is not necessary for you to obtain it: students will be able to download what they need to when they are in school. We do not anticipate any parents having to change their broadband to accommodate these iPads.
There will be an acceptable use policy document for you and your child to sign. This will include details like your child having to keep the iPad in its supplied case and agreeing not to misuse the iPad in any way. Your child will also need to ensure that their iPad is charged at home and ready for use in school and that there is sufficient space on the iPad for their schoolwork. The iPad will become another piece of equipment your child is required to bring to lessons, just like a pen or ruler.
Students will be able to print directly from the iPads so they will need to ensure they have printer credits as now.
Shortly we will introduce Office 365 on the school network. This will allow the iPads to integrate with Microsoft packages. Music, Technology and ICT will continue to use PCs during lessons.
Apple has the most robust, virus free and secure operating system and comprehensive range of Apps- there are now 80,000 educational apps for the iPad. Apple is also experienced and very willing to work with schools and have a global network of educators who can support us. The mini was chosen because it is portable, less prone to screen damage and can do everything the bigger version can but at a significantly lower cost.
The PCs installed at the time of the new build are reaching the end of their lifespan. Whilst we will retain some PCs we will not be replacing a large number, instead channelling this money into paying for the iPads. We also expect to make significant reductions in printing and reprographics costs.
We will ensure that lessons continue to have a balance of activities. Students will continue to have exercise books, to do group work and practical activities. We will continue our emphasis on developing students’ writing skills. In exams students will still be expected to work using pen and paper so we will ensure working in this way remains a priority.
Our filtering system will allow the teacher to turn all the iPads in a class off. However, a big part of providing students with this technology is to help them develop the skills and judgement to use it responsibly so simply turning machines off will not be typical. Teachers remain in charge of lessons and will decide on the best approach: it may be that students are asked to keep them in their bags when not in use. When is use, teachers will monitor students as always and if necessary punish students for not working as requested.
Different schools take different approaches to this. However, at Penryn we are proposing that iPads are not used in all areas during these times; we may even switch them off or it may well be that we have 1-2 areas identified for iPad use in breaks and that they are not to be used elsewhere. This is to minimise the potential for damage and to encourage students to see the machines as a learning tool. At these times we want students to be socialising and relaxing, not looking at screens.
When the iPads are not in use we will encourage students to ensure they are looked after carefully and stored safely in bags or lockers.
The iPads will be available for use by the students during holidays in the same way as at weekends and evenings.
As mobile phones generally have cameras and microphones this has been an issue for all schools for some time. Students have already been made aware of the seriousness of inappropriate behaviour here through assemblies and the acceptable use policy for iPads will further reinforce this. Recording and sharing images without permission is potentially illegal and would be dealt with as an extremely serious matter. Again, if it was felt necessary, the school could limit the camera function on the devices.
For us one of the most exciting aspects of giving all students iPads is that no student will be disadvantaged because they cannot access the resources they need. Introducing a flat charge will always affect different families differently: for some £50 will not be much but for others it is a significant sum. We are very fortunate that we are able to offer the machines at no upfront cost.
Individuals need an iTunes account to be able to do this. You need to be 13 to have one of these so we are exploring how younger students can have access of some kind. Older students may be able to download their apps but this is a feature we can limit and we decide before the launch on the details of this.