Digital Learning (iPads)
Education in the 21st Century takes place in a dynamically changing environment. Beyond the foundational curriculum-specific skills, students need to be able to utilise technological resources effectively, efficiently and ethically. At Salesian College, we firmly believe in our mission of “Educating for Life” as we aim to inspire high level creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication amongst our students, assisting them to excel academically and inspiring life-long learning whilst also cultivating Christian character.
Today, technology is found on our desktops, and also in our briefcases, rucksacks and pockets. Use of mobile technology is now commonplace in the world outside the classroom. We believe that the use of mobile technology in the classroom, coupled with personalised teaching strategies and access to quality electronic resources will change the way our students connect, communicate and collaborate within their learning environment and beyond. Educational use of mobile technology will provide the advantage of extending learning beyond the traditional time and space constraints of the school day.
The ability to access and use mobile technology appropriately and effectively is essential for students and teachers in today’s world. Prior to our first phase of deployment of mobile devices, we spent considerable time and effort researching the many types of devices that are available on the market. Our visits to several other schools and colleges, together with attendance at conferences and exhibitions led us to believe that the iPad best meets the needs of our students and teachers. As a mobile device, the iPad is accessible, media rich, creative, collaborative, and connected. It also offers a secure and robust operating system, and Apple have, in recent years, developed software and management systems to enable effective use and monitoring in the classroom. We believe that an iPad in the hands of each of our students and teachers will prove to be a powerful tool to assist in the development of every individual as a lifelong learner. Our research shows that within the classroom, the iPad is best used when it is incorporated into, but does not dominate, learning activities. It can open up possibilities that were not available to the learner before. Sometimes the iPad’s role will be minor, perhaps enhancing a text book with an animation or video and sometimes it will be revolutionary as the iPad and associated Apps provide a window into a whole new world of learning.
Under the guidance of Salesian staff, it is our intention that students will:
• grow academically in a personalised learning environment
• learn to navigate the digital world effectively and with Christian discernment
• increasingly employ a variety of communication skills to share and extend their learning
• gain understanding of cultural and societal issues associated with the use of technology
• connect safely with other learners around the globe
Primarily however, our students will enjoy the experience of a variety of teaching and learning strategies which are unavailable to students in a traditional classroom. We are committed to using technology to supplement and enrich our learning environment. We intend to provide every teacher and all students in Years 7-11 with an iPad for educational use during the school day and at home. This provision has already begun. All teachers were issued with College iPads in February 2018 and are committed to undertaking an on-going programme of training and developmental opportunities to raise their awareness of the effective use of the device and to develop their skills further. Following deployment of 1:1 iPads to Years 7 and 10 in September 2018, many students have already enjoyed the benefits that the iPad brings to their learning experiences.
With regard to our 1:1 programme, the timeline for the project is as follows:
Teachers are using iPad technology in their classroom activities as best fits the particular learning and teaching requirements of the lesson. We are using many iPad apps to enrich and supplement our traditional resources, thereby helping to enhance students' learning. Teachers are undertaking a review of our current textbooks and workbooks and continue to identify iPad apps that may, in due course, replace traditional learning resources if they are equivalent or better. Students' iPads also allow instant and constant access to our Virtual Learning Environment (Frog) which already contains a wealth of material designed to support students in their learning.
Our iPads have been sourced from a respected and experienced educational supplier and are managed centrally and remotely by the IT Staff here at the College. We are clear that each iPad must be seen as a personal educational tool; it is not a personal iPad. In addition, software installed on teachers’ iPads enables them to monitor and control each individual’s use of their iPad in every classroom.
Ultimately the College intends to provide access to a learning environment within which the iPad is just one resource amongst many, both traditional and modern, thereby replicating provision in the wider world of work which they will eventually enter. Salesian College intends to become an expert provider of this increasingly standard feature of Independent Education.