By Emma Willcox, Year 2 teacher and ICT subject lead
AT Micklehurst All Saints CE Primary School, iPads have been an integral part of classroom learning for a number of years.
However, we have now embarked on the next stage of an ambitious programme that will see all children in Key Stage 2 allocated an iPad and Apple pencil, and with all teachers allocated an Apple iPad Pro, Apple pencil and smart keyboard.
The project so far has seen individual iPads allocated to Year 2, 4 and 5 with additional iPads purchased for the other years, giving them a ratio of one iPad per two children. On Monday, March 29 children in these year groups returned to their classrooms to find a new, boxed iPad on their desk.
The aim of this programme is to promote new classroom behaviour by embedding mobile devices into the curriculum to enhance learning and to deliver tangible improvements in attainment and achievement levels by engaging and empowering students.
Research has found that introducing iPads in classrooms has a positive effect on the development of children’s literacy and numeracy skills. It also shows that the use of these devices enhances children’s communication skills.
The power and flexibility of iPads give children the freedom to explore and express new ideas whenever and wherever inspiration strikes, bringing their biggest ideas to life.
Built-in apps and intuitive software create an incredibly personal learning experience for each child — one that can be as unique as they are. iPads can be anything children want them to be and have the power to create anything children dream up.
From the moment children pick up an iPad, they’re ready to make things happen by tapping, swiping, dragging and dropping. Straight away, they know how to move text, photos and documents around like experts.
It is a profoundly immersive and responsive experience that gets children of all learning styles fully engaged in. As soon as you hand out an iPad, you’re putting incredible power in your children’s hands.
They can edit a 4K video between classes, build a 3D model of a steam engine or conduct a virtual orchestra to create the soundtrack for a presentation on classical music.
iPads can transform how children learn about and connect with the world around them and turns classrooms into the cosmos.
History lessons can become as vivid as the present by restoring ancient artefacts and children can peer inside everyday objects to understand how they’re put together.
Altogether, it creates an experience that’s simply not possible on other platforms.
In addition, the iPad can be taken outside. For teachers who take their pupils outside during warm days to sit on the grass and enjoy the sun, this can give a joyful class a new meaning!
iPad builds skills. Children can learn typing, multi-touch navigation, problem-solving (with puzzles and games) and many other skills. And teachers and children can collaborate on documents and presentations together or participate in discussions.
Emma Gorton, Year 4 teacher and SENDCO, also notes there is evidence in children with cognitive delays iPad apps can boost language use and social interaction. And the touch screens and all-in-one components of an iPad make it easier for children with special educational needs to not only use but master the process.
Of course, iPads will never fully replace written work and books in classrooms but the two ways of learning combined will inspire and engage children in this vital stage of their education journey and give them enviable skills and knowledge to take into their future workplaces.