Three more city schools to equip pupils with iPads

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A pilot scheme that equips school pupils with tablet computers has proved so successful it is to be rolled out to further schools across the Capital.

Education bosses have confirmed pupils at Portobello, Tynecastle and Drummond high schools will be given Apple iPads when the new session begins in August.

They will follow in the footsteps of counterparts at Broomhouse and Sciennes primaries, as well as Gracemount and Forrester High, where the equipment has been in use for weeks.

Staff at Portobello High said the devices – which will give pupils access to thousands of cutting-edge educational apps – would enable learning that is more relevant to everyday life.

Brian Clark, the school’s curricular leader for computing and business education, said: “This is about catching up with the real world outside of education. By engaging with technology that’s relevant to pupils today, we can design experiences that make pupils feel that what they’re doing in school has value in their own lives.”

Under the pilot scheme, pupils at the three schools will be able to take their tablets home with them for use during homework exercises.

Parents will be asked to sign agreements to ensure their children are not accessing inappropriate online content, while controls at school will be provided through the council’s filtering system.

Staff said giving pupils the freedom to use tablets to direct their own learning was a key plank of the new project.

“It’s the flipped classroom idea – one of the ideas behind this is that teachers can create content pupils will engage with at home and then apply in class with the support of teachers,” said Mr Clark.

“Traditionally, problem-
solving and applied knowledge was done as homework that was ‘given’ by teachers. But with this, pupils have much more control over the functionality of their own device. This is about giving them the ability to learn and investigate things they are interested in.”

Education bosses said the speed of the pilot’s roll-out was testament to its success. A meeting to discuss whether the £400 devices should be given to all city school pupils is set to take place in the autumn.

Councillor Paul Godzik, education leader, said: “Feedback from the schools involved in the pilot project has been very encouraging so it’s great news that three more will start using this technology.

“Mobile devices and tablets are increasingly becoming a part of everyday life. We believe that their use in the learning environment has huge potential and could open up exciting learning opportunities.”