Elly Walsh, the school’s ICT Coordinator, first heard about LearnPads through local ELC Subject Leader meetings and from the recommendation of another school. “I did a lot of research in comparing LearnPads to iPads before deciding to purchase. I went to visit another school in the borough called Mount Carmel. The staff and children highlighted that the LearnPads were without doubt a fantastic resource, which enhanced their learning.”
Elly heard from the children that they found them easy to use and enjoyed having them in the classroom, both to be creative with and to find things out. From the teachers, Elly discovered that there were other benefits to the LearnPad solution.
“The staff found the teacher management portal really useful and allowed them to manage what the children were learning and also as a tool of assessment. When they compared to iPads they said LearnPads supported the school’s curriculum in a more functional way.”
Having received a contribution from the Parent’s Association, St. Gregory’s invested in 90 Quarto LearnPad devices in May 2014 and they are now being used in every class apart from Foundation and Reception.
Elly and the staff recognise that technology is always advancing and changing but have concluded that LearnPads are powerful, user-friendly devices which will energise their children’s classroom experience.
“The LearnPads are specifically designed for education – they come with preinstalled applications and lessons designed to support and ensure the needs of the curriculum are being met. They widen the skills and experiences for all the children in St. Gregory’s School. The LearnPads help our journey as a school to create an innovative ICT curriculum.”
With the pre-loaded tools and the range of curriculum content available to them, the children in the school are able to explore how to use ICT to create, communicate and be collaborative. The LearnPads enhance and support the new curriculum, especially in Computing.
The devices are being widely used by whole classes but there are hopes to develop the use of LearnPads with further smaller groups and interventions. The ability to create collections of content specifically for groups and classes is being widely used too – teachers have planned and created a range of lessons within their own classes to support and assist pupils.
LearnPads are used in a cross-curricular manner and to support the new Computing curriculum. The introductory Lessons provided by LearnPad in the content portal gave staff the opportunity to use targeted resources with their pupils in Numeracy, Literacy, History, Art and Science.
“The ready-made Lessons have been useful, especially in cross curricular activities. The ClassView management portal has been really useful to assess and view pupil’s progress through the lesson, and also to show their work.”
The LearnPads have been particularly useful in supporting the new Computing Curriculum Digital Research and Programming topic, particularly in Year 2.
Elly has recently found another use for the devices too:
“Due to recent building work in the Junior school, we have been accommodating ICT within the classrooms. These light mobile devices make it easy for pupils, especially the younger pupils, to use the equipment and they can be used outside to take pictures and videos which they love and enjoy learning with. The Dashboard Management Portal ClassView, accessed via the website, gives the teachers full control on the class activities which is very important.”
Elly is particularly pleased with the way that the LearnPads are helping children understand uses of networks for collaboration & communication. She has plans to ensure that they will also use them to learn how to be discerning in evaluating digital content.
Although it’s a little bit early to confidently say that LearnPads have increased attainment, Elly is in no doubt that children really enjoy using them and use them to produce some outstanding and excellent work.
“At recent Subject Leader meetings, a number of schools have asked me would I recommend them instead of iPads. I highly recommend LearnPads and am fully supportive to schools in setting up the devices and assist them whenever I can. LearnPads are great for schools due to their ease of use.”