MARK ORCHISON: 9ine Consulting
How did 9ine get involved in this project?
We work with many schools that are implementing mobile learning strategies and have seen that there are many aspects for schools to think about before updating their technology. From infrastructure, finance and technical support, through to change management, pedagogy and content, it’s crucial for schools to understand the importance of getting this right, in order to improve teaching and learning.
For us, Tablets for Schools is a way for schools to gain the knowledge they need to make an informed decision about whether or not, they think Tablets can improve education in their school. The process of implementing Tablets is unnecessarily complicated for schools and the campaign has learnt a lot from those they have worked with. In turn, they are able to pass these lessons on to other schools in the country, to help them on their Tablet journey and we would like to support the project in doing this.
Being leaders in the UK on implementing tablets in schools we were asked to contribute to the initiative, provide guidance and support in terms of what is happening ‘at the coal face’ of teaching and learning.
How have 9ine contributed to the project so far?
We are partners to Tablets for Schools and have provided advice and guidance, based on our experiences within the education sector. We have held technical workshops for a number of the schools involved in the project, and our contribution will culminate in the Tablets for Schools Conference 2013. 9ine will be curating the event and hope to engage head teachers, senior leaders and decision makers with the project. The conference will enable delegates to gain first hand, practical experience of implementing Tablets from schools who have gone through the process.
What do you hope the project will achieve?
The mission of the project, is for Tablet technology to be accessible for all school children in the UK. Our vision is for the project to become a point of reference for schools who are considering adopting Tablets. From advice, guidance and best practice, Tablets for Schools aim to provide this in the form of our free Toolkit app. This draws on the experience of the 33 schools involved in the research, and also includes a check list that schools can work through to ensure their 1:1 Tablet scheme is a success.
ANDREW HARRISON - Carphone Warehouse
Why did Carphone Warehouse get involved in Tablets for Schools?
Our vision is to help make people’s lives better through technology and 1:1 technology has transformed every aspect of our lives, so why is it excluded from the education system? I saw first-hand as a parent, the impact Tablets can have on inspiring kids. It struck me how accessible the internet is on a Tablet and how creative children can be when using them.
Tablets for Schools evolved from this experience and our belief that actually all kids should have this opportunity. It seemed clear that Tablets are a once-in-a-generation ticket to help us transform learning and teaching in the UK. This is a not-for-profit campaign and our focus is share best practice that helps schools.
What has the research found to date?
You can find out more about our research to date here www.tabletsforschools.org.uk. The research is independent, academic research and has shown to date that Tablets bring significant benefits to teachers and learners in terms of engagement, collaborative learning and communication. But, we have also seen from our research that the schools that integrate Tablets successfully take time to plan and engage with staff, parents and pupils. We’ve seen from the research that 1:1 schemes can be time consuming and that issues such as infrastructure and content can be problematic.
How important are tablets in the 21st century?
Obviously it is pedagogy and teaching that are the crucial issues here. Tablets can, I believe, create a real catalyst for change in our classrooms – especially in terms of integrating all learners into the heart of lessons and breaking down the divide between home and school.
What does the project hope to achieve?
The focus of the Tablets for Schools project is to help share best practice amongst schools so that mobile learning can be at the heart of their pedagogical approach. Our vision is that every child in the UK can learn using a Tablet. For the next school year, our focus is to share the learning from our research, to create a community of schools and to try to bridge the gap between what schools need and what industry thinks they need!
Shortly you will be able to download our free toolkit app which will help schools consider the key areas of implementing a 1:1 strategy. It will be an organic tool which develops as schools feed in their experiences. This framework will be used in all our events going forward.
What type of educators are involved in the research?
Tablets for Schools has worked with 21 schools in our Stage 3 research (to be launched this autumn). We work with School Heads and ICT champions and now have 33 schools actively involved in our ongoing research.
We are developing a network of schools that interact with our website and twitter etc. Our Pedagogy group make sure that we are on track in terms of asking the right questions and being informative to schools. We also have regular dialogue with the Department for Education.
SEBASTIAN JAMES- Dixons Retail
Why did Dixons get involved in the project?
Being part of Tablets for Schools is a great opportunity for us to put something back into society. The campaign is about helping schools to get the most out of Tablets and demonstrating the impact they have in the classroom and at home. Tablet technology can help schools create successful mobile learning strategies for all their pupils, but we have a lot of work to do to make this process easier for schools. Dixons wants to be part of this change.
What are your thoughts on the findings of the research so far?
The vital lessons that have emerged from the research so far is that Tablets can have a really positive impact on teaching and learning, but that that these schemes require a huge amount of preparation and effort from leadership teams.
There are some amazing creative examples emerging of teachers creating and sharing new content. The research programme is - as far as we are aware - the only independent research programme of its type and will we continue to demonstrate the impact Tablets are having and the issues for schools.
What do you hope the project will achieve?
Our aim is to be an essential hub of information, advice and ideas for schools that are looking to introduce 1:1 schemes or that already use Tablets. Our focus is to share best practice amongst schools and help make it easier for schools to adopt devices, if it is right for them. We also want to provide a wake up call for industry and government.
You are about to launch the third stage of the research. What will that entail?
The third stage of research will draw on the experiences of 21 schools in the UK that have integrated tablets successfully. It is the largest study of its kind to date and will provide in-depth case studies about how schools use tablet technology and the impact on pedagogy and learning. You will be able to download the research later this year, but the interesting themes that emerge in it include the challenge for teachers and students of distraction and how schools are bringing creative solutions to content for their lessons. We have also gathered more quantitative data such as about the impact on attendance and how many apps are downloaded each week in schools.
Tell us a little about your Tablets for Schools toolkit.
The Toolkit will be a free downloadable app that provides schools with the core areas they need to consider for their tablet schemes. It includes the experiences of the schools involved in our research and a ‘toolkit’ of documents that can be downloaded, such as an acceptable use policy for use in your school. It will cover pedagogy, content, finance, infrastructure, technical support, safety and security. It is an organic document which we hope schools will adapt and add to as they progress their own tablet schemes.
Mark Orchison (Managing Director - 9ine Consulting)
Andrew Harrison (CEO, Carphone Warehouse and Chair, Tablets for Schools)
Sebastian James (Group CEO, Dixons Retail Plc, Tablets for Schools Steering Group Member)
FIND OUT MORE:
Read more about the findings of the Tablets For Schools initiative here:
STAGE 3 RESEARCH: http://www.tabletsforschools.org.uk/key-findings-stage-3-research/
To find out more, book your place at the next Tablets For Schools conference in London this December: