iPods and iPads in the classroom

A group of representatives from ISM, including myself, have just returned from a fascinating trip to the UK and Norway, in which we were able to see some outstanding schools where iPads and iPods are being used to enhance learning.

The first school we saw was the ESSA Academy in Bolton. The staff and kids from ESSA were a real inspiration. The shared vision was quite extraordinary; from the way the intuitive curriculum was organised to the 1-2-1 allocation of iPod touches, everything at ESSA was very forward thinking and aimed at achieving the higest possible standards for the children. The results of the school’s GCSE’s over the last 3 years in fact proved that the vision was working, exceptionally well – in 2008 30% of their children acheived 5 or more GCSE’s A*-C, the figure acheiving that now is 70%…

We then flew to Stavanger International School, via Copenhagen where the project was slightly different. Similarly, the school was using iPod touches as a day to day classroom resource, although the allocation was not yet 1-2-1. Stavanger also has iPads in the classroom, and we were able to see first hand their potential as we walked into a year 1 classroom in which the children were literally using iPads for the first time. Within munites they were loading apps, drawing pictures, writing words and reading. Incredible.

Our final destination was Bowes Primary School in London, where again iPads and iPod touches were regularly being used by the children. We saw them being used in a variety of different contexts; in one y5 class the children were acting scenes from Romeo and Juliet, taking photos and then adding speech and thought bubbles in Old English to a comic strip! This was happening in a matter of seconds.

A huge thank you to all three schools, whose hospitality, advice and knowledge were outstanding and incredibly motivating. Whenever we saw the devices being used, we saw engagement, collaboration and learning. Food for thought for all involved and certainly an inspiring and exciting glimpse into what the future holds for education. A future, that is not what it used to be…