The school’s ICT Manager, Tracey Campbell, organised a couple of meetings with teachers from different schools to discuss their experiences using different technologies and “…someone put forward the LearnPad, a tablet designed specifically for education.”
Tracey visited LearnPad at Bett 2014 to find out more. “The LearnPad offered a number of benefits over other tablet devices, but the main one was its manageability. With the LearnPad you’re able to interact with students, supervise and monitor their device and progress, while letting them explore different resources on their own and in groups. What’s more, with the control features in place, we can make sure students aren’t looking at anything they shouldn’t be”.
The school invested in 32 LearnPads for Key Stage 2, in Spring 2014. These proved so successful that the school has subsequently invested in 15 more LearnPads for Key Stage 1, 12 for Reception and 15 for Pupil Premium students.
“I think the fact that more and more teachers want to use LearnPads is testament to the positive effect the devices are having on pupils. We’ve allocated more funding because of this so that we can use them in new and exciting ways on a daily basis. It is paramount that teachers use up-to-date, relevant resources in the classroom so that students cover all the necessary material on the new curriculum. Our staff are all very excited to make use of the new LearnPad Lesson Profiles created for the new 2014 Curriculum.”
Another big selling point of the LearnPad over other tablet is that the students see them as learning tools. “They don’t look at them in the same way as they would an iPad; they turn the devices on, load the resources they need for that lesson and start working”.
Most teachers agree that differentiated learning is one of the most important practices in the classroom. With 25-30 students in a class, most teachers simply don’t have the time to differentiate as much as they would like. Tracey explains how differentiated learning is made possible with LearnPad; “The LearnPad makes it easy for teachers to gather a variety of digital learning objects and neatly organise them into digital lessons.
Students are able to instantly access these lessons with a simple scan of a QR Code using the camera on the LearnPad. In seconds, teachers can have different group of students working through different content to suit their needs and learning objectives. It’s so straightforward and hassle free!”
“LearnPad’s ClassConnect web-based interface allows us to quickly and easily create lessons and interact with our pupils. It enables us to live stream activities on each LearnPad keeping us in control of the lesson. We can freeze the LearnPads, send messages to pupils and view LearnPad resources or work to show the class, and to promote individual learning, LearnPads can be grouped and a variety of activities can be sent for each group. We like the simple way we can print work direct from the device.”
Since implementing the LearnPads, lessons have become far more dynamic for students Tracey reports, “In Year 4, one of the teachers led a lesson on numeracy, teaching students money-handling skills. In addition to textbook activities, she created a LearnPad Lesson Profile and got students to demonstrate how they can add and subtract with money using a variety of apps and resources on the LearnPad. It was far more interesting for the students, rather than just using coins to demonstrate this skill”.
The Reception teachers at Holland Primary Park have been amazed by the effect the LearnPad has had on their youngest pupils. Tracey says, “Teachers can’t believe how engaged and how confident the children are using LearnPads. In Reception, most work is pupil led so they are given the devices and are able to choose from a variety of exercises. They particularly love the phonetics and letter-forming-based games and are able to stay totally focussed on the task in hand. They’re also great for peer-to-peer learning, with the children helping one another work through exercises”.
Tracey is certain that student attainment will increase over time given the increase in pupil enthusiasm and engagement when using the devices. “Teachers have said on countless occasions that students are immediately more engaged and they support the development of a number of essential academic skills including research, problem solving, creative thinking, team working and so on. We’re also able to make our subscription-based websites readily available to use which they weren’t in the past, and that’s extended learning and will no doubt increase attainment.”
Headteacher Anthony Welch, states; “In my opinion, the impact of LearnPads on raising attainment has been significant and measurable. Data collection shows that where pupils have received targeted intervention using LearnPads and related software, progress has accelerated.”