Castlebrae Community High is leading the Capital’s IT revolution after it became the first school in the city to issue an iPad to all 130 pupils as part of a drive to transform learning.
And tech-savvy youngsters at the Craigmillar school have been quick to get to grips with the new kit – using apps to carry out tasks ranging from video analysis of performance in PE to taking detailed pictures of science apparatus.
Headteacher Derek Curran, who was recently seconded to the south Edinburgh secondary, said: “This is so significant – the kids have had their morale hit for a period of time with all the uncertainty over the school’s future. Now that has been secured, we’re looking to be at the forefront among schools in Edinburgh.”
Although trial roll-outs of iPads have been a success among individual year groups at other city schools, Castlebrae is blazing a trail in handing out devices to every pupil.
The £30,000 iPad mini launch comes as the school recovers after it nearly closed over falling rolls and poor exam results, and following a scathing follow-up inspection which found pupils were still being failed. Mr Curran said the impact of the new devices would boost the school.
“This will change the culture of learning at the school in a whole host of ways,” he said.
“One of the most important will be that young people will be able to access work anywhere at any time.
“One of the big issues you have in schools is that often the lowest-attaining will not actually take work home with them, because teachers are afraid it will get lost and there’ll be nothing to submit at exam time – this wipes that problem out at a stroke.
S5 pupil Joe Murray, 16, said using the iPad in class had already made a huge difference. He said: “I’ve been using the iPad in PE to watch videos to understand how to improve performance.”
The iPad roll-out was also welcomed by city education chiefs. Councillor Cathy Fullerton, education vice-leader and chair of the Castlebrae working group, said: “The iPads are just one of a number of measures being put in place as part of the council’s commitment to making improvements at the school.”