Highfield introduced iPads for senior pupils during the Summer Term of 2013 and we now have Years 7 and 8 using iPads in the classroom and are currently rolling this out to Year 6. The introduction of iPads was made possible through substantial investments in infrastructure, including the installation of a high speed Wi-Fi network, and AppleTV connectivity throughout. Teachers and pupils have been amazed by what this new technology has made possible and have regularly discovered new ways to use it.

There are a number of advantages to having the iPad in the classroom. Through a whole range of apps, teachers are able to create a greater variety of resources to support their pupils’ learning, and help a topic ‘come to life’. Specifically tailored course materials no longer need to be presented only in the 2D format of a textbook’s page, they can be enlivened through video and audio links and embedded into iBooks for example.  With a permanent copy of their own textbook, pupils become able to annotate their copy of the book and access built-in dictionaries to define key words.  Broadening teaching activities in this way enables teachers to cater for a wider range of learning preferences and needs.  

Many of us will remember the days of putting our hand up in lessons only to feel frustrated by not getting the opportunity to ask or answer a question.  With apps such as Kahoot, every pupil gets to answer every question and so their engagement with a lesson is fully maximised. Instant internet access means that when a pupil asks a challenging question the class can research the answer immediately rather than wait until after the class by which time the impetus for the enquiry can be lost. And children don’t just learn in a classroom of course, iPads at Highfield are used across the curriculum. Inbuilt camera and video capability has proved extremely useful to help pupils assess their performance in drama, PE and Sport for example. Apps such as Coach’s Eye make it possible to film a child’s first few attempts at the butterfly stroke and then provide real-time, immediate and specific feedback thus leading to more rapid improvements.

The introduction of the iPad isn't solely about learning opportunities though. It’s also about preparation for the challenges of free access to mobile technology in senior school and the wider world. We help pupils recognise that the iPad is a tool and, like all tools, works well for some things, but not for all. We want pupils to recognise that pen, paper and books still have an important role and that though the iPad is there, it shouldn’t be necessarily be the first port of call. This is not always easy to manage, but in the security of a Prep School environment, the first steps along this path can be closely supported.

The introduction of iPads is a journey the school, pupils and parents are making together, but for our part, we are committed to maintaining our position as one of the leaders in the use of mobile technology in Prep Schools.

Watch our video to learn more about how the iPad is used to enhance teaching and learning at Highfield.

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