iPads for Learning Scheme
In keeping with our ‘believe and achieve’ ethos, we want every student at Blenheim to be fully prepared for a world where digital technology is transforming work and social life at an explosive pace. So far much of this digital revolution has bypassed education. Technology has now reached a level of maturity where it can be effectively applied in mainstream education without the technical difficulties encountered in the past. It has been our ambition for a considerable time to allow every student to have access to top quality digital technology as and when needed for their learning. Currently, each computer in school is shared by on average four students, and IT rooms must be booked by staff at least a week in advance. We believe that students’ learning and progress can be greatly improved by increasing access to digital technology, and this can be achieved by enabling every student to have a personal device.
We have been actively researching a solution to this challenge for some time, to enable our students to develop greater creativity and independence in their learning. Visits to a number of other schools running personal device schemes were invaluable, and we learned a great deal from them.
In September 2013 we launched the iPads for Learning scheme. This was initially offered to Year Nine students, and today all students have access to their own iPad. The school has invested heavily in infrastructure to ensure it can support large numbers of iPads. Staff have familiarised themselves with the huge potential offered by this exciting technology, and we have established good links with Apple UK and Solutions Inc, an Apple Education Reseller, to ensure we get the best possible value for money.
Each student who joins the scheme is provided with the use of the latest iPad, protective case, a range of paid and free apps, worldwide insurance and warranty, with full backup and technical support available in school for the duration of the scheme. Staff will use iPads when relevant in lessons. The iPads are available to take home at night, or can be left securely in school if preferred. In order to be able to offer a scheme of this size, complexity and cost, the school has committed considerable resources as we are convinced that lessons with high challenge, where students receive highly personalised feedback, and where lessons are engaging, requiring processing of information at a deep level will lead to greater levels of independence, self-motivation and creativity. We cannot offer this scheme without financial support from parents, however, and families who wish to join the scheme contribute to the costs of the scheme on a monthly basis. The iPads remain the property of the school throughout the duration of the scheme, but there will be the option to own the device at the end of the scheme with a small payment reflecting the residual value of the device.
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