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Tablets in Education: Redden Court School Case Study

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Case Study submitted by Scott Carrington, Head of Technology Faculty, Redden Court School

Redden Court School is a forward thinking and progressive secondary school. We seek to achieve the very best for all our students through the use of advanced technology and a rich variety of educational approaches. As a Specialist Academy for Mathematics and Computing, we continue to use our strengths in these areas to enhance the learning opportunities for all students and raise standards across the curriculum.

As an innovative school, we are venturing into the use of tablets, wireless technology and cloud computing to enhance teaching and learning within school and provide further opportunities for students to extend their knowledge outside of school. Our journey has started with the use of Microsoft Surface RT tablets but we plan to progress further by offering 1:1 and BYOD services in the near future. Please read our initial findings in the case study below.

Students are embracing the Surface RTs at Redden Court School. Below are some photos of a Key Stage 4 class working on their GCSE controlled assessment:

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Some are starting to make use of some of the Surface’s features, such as the kick stand, on screen keyboard, USB drive and the split screen, which is particularly useful when working on the spreadsheet task.

Teachers are also becoming more familiar with the tablets and starting to use them as a visualizer for sharing good work on the screen and as a camera, which some of the more confident students particularly enjoy!

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The use of tablets is certainly promoting collaborative learning, particularly through the touch screen functionality. The size and portability of the Surface tablets also allows for a more personal learning environment where students feel confident to share their work with each other and combine their strengths to complete tasks.

With most classes we have tried to give them 1 lesson a week on the tablets and 1 lesson on the PCs. This is to ensure that they develop the skills to adapt to a range of tools and it allows them to experience the benefits of both scenarios. It took a while for students (and staff) to get used to not being able to access the school’s network drive and their documents locally when on the tablets. However, they are gradually becoming more experience in saving work to their memory sticks or SkyDrive accounts through LGFL and Office 365. This is providing the students with a first-hand experience of cloud computing, which is a theory topic for the GCSE ICT. Office365 is also allowing teachers to set more challenging tasks for home learning as all students now have access to the Office suite at home.

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Another benefit of Office 365 through LGFL SkyDrive is the ability for students and staff to share and follow documents which provides opportunities for full collaboration, such as adding, editing and commenting on each other’s work in the same document in real time. This is perfect for group work and class forums.

At Redden Court we firmly believe that as tablets continue to become more multi-functional, they will replace the need to spend/waste money on a range of equipment such as cameras, video recorders, microphones, smart boards, etc.

One of our favourite unique features of the Microsoft Surface tablets is the panoramic photo stitching facility. Not only do they provide a wider view of whole class learning but they also have a range of benefits. One of these benefits is highlighting key points of health and safety, which is a great starter for new students to the school. Another is from business perspective as we are able to upload interactive panoramic photos/videos of our specialist suites and rooms that can be hired during out of school hours.(see images below)

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There are other features of the tablet that we have only scratched the ‘Surface’ with so far but we plan to embed them more into our lessons on a regular basis. This includes researching and experimenting with the app store and using the vast range of apps available.

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Students are enjoying using the tablets and on the whole they have been a success. We certainly see the potential in the project and once we get through some of the technical issues, we will be able to fully embrace the use of tablets to enhance teaching and learning throughout the school.

Mr Carrington

Head of Technology Faculty

Redden Court School

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