School earns new accolade for classroom iPad rollout

THINK back to your school days and there's a distinct possibility you spent at least some of them lugging around a huge backpack full of old textbooks.
Tynecastle High School has been awarded 'Apple Distinguished' status. Picture: Neil HannaTynecastle High School has been awarded 'Apple Distinguished' status. Picture: Neil Hanna
Tynecastle High School has been awarded 'Apple Distinguished' status. Picture: Neil Hanna

But for one Edinburgh school it’s now a rather different story after it received a special accolade for bringing new technology into the classroom.

Tynecastle High School is understood to be the first in Scotland to receive the seal of approval from the world’s biggest technology company. It was declared an “Apple Distinguished School” yesterday in recognition of its efforts to make digital learning part of every-day life and unveiled a special plaque in honour of the achievement.

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It comes after the school successfully rolled out an iPad scheme for pupils in S3 to S6.

Each student was given their own device, which can then be used in the classroom, at home and even on trips.

Jenni Robertson, director of digital learning at the school, explained the iPads helped with everything from digital textbooks to proving students with extra support, for example by the tablets reading aloud documents for pupils with dyslexia.

Ms Robertson said the award could be put down in part to the fact their use of technology helped all pupils rather than just being a handful.

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She said: “It’s a genuine whole school initiative – it’s not just a few keen staff, the entire staff are behind it.

“Part of it as well is it allows all our students to achieve. It supports our high fliers – they can do additional study – and students who need additional support can be helped as well.

“It’s lovely to be recognised for what we already do. Going forward it’s shining a light on Tynecastle as a centre for innovation.”

Staff said they had noticed a marked improvement in pupils’ results through the incorporation of tablet devices.

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Headteacher Hazel Kinnear said she was delighted the school had been chosen, saying she was “extremely proud” of all the staff and students who had helped make it possible.

She said: “The use of technology breaks down barriers to learning and enriches the learning experiences of our students. The classroom today is not confined to a physical space. It is a new and exciting world of learning opened through the use of digital technology.

“Equipping all of our students S3-S6 with an iPad enables us to achieve our vision of embedding technology across the curriculum to ensure that all students have equal access to a relevant and applied curriculum and are able to make use of world-class digital resources wherever they are.”

Cammy Day, education leader at the city council, said he was “really impressed” by the school’s efforts.

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He said: “They fully deserve this award. Mobile devices and tablets are increasingly becoming a part of everyday life and it’s important we prepare young people for success in today’s rapidly evolving and digital world.”