The COVID-19 pandemic has heralded an incredible shift in education. Teaching strategies, breadth of resources and feedback have changed, along with children’s learning styles, prompting talk of a revolution in the sector. And yet, at such a significant time, many of the changes required have been achieved and indeed exceeded thanks to the impact of effective investment in technology already familiar to us.
At St Nicholas’ we have been making a concerted effort to embed technology into the curriculum for some time; our provision at present utilises a range of devices – Virtual Reality headsets for story writing for example, or smart speakers for low-level enquiries such as dates or spellings. The main focus however for our provision is through iPads, and we are grateful for the support that the team at Trams have provided in helping us to achieve this.
We have utilised 1-to-1 iPads since September 2018 but employed a class set structure beforehand. Both models allowed us to review the curriculum and begin to build skills in the children that have prepared them for working in the modern environment.
It has been wonderful to observe our children developing their independence as a result of utilising iPads in lessons. It has allowed us to set higher expectations because of the wealth of information available to them, and likewise, through the enormous range of applications, children can produce a huge variety of pieces of work, engaging their creativity as well as their enthusiasm for learning. Rather than a simple written piece, or a fact sheet, children can create videos using green screen, make animations, manipulate photos and explore Augmented Reality to bring subjects to life.
The team at St Nicholas’ have been fantastic at utilising this technology, but it requires some input at the outset. All our teachers are certified Apple Teachers, but the CPD courses offered by Trams are brilliant at giving teachers time to use the technology being discussed rather than simply showing them, and this has instilled the passion and support for the devices which has filtered out to our whole community.
In the current climate, this is of course essential – we provide our children with 5 video lessons a day and deliver a full curriculum at a time when many cannot. At a time when children’s education is having to adapt, we have been able to maintain and develop the quality of our provision. This is almost exclusively a result of our commitment to iPads, where children from Reception to Year 6 can independently sign into Zoom meetings with classmates, can access resources through apps such as Seesaw and Google Classroom, and most importantly can produce work of a high standard.
We can react to technical issues promptly thanks to our TramsCloud Manage + (Mobile Device Management) subscription, with the support team acting quickly and effectively to deploy new apps as staff identify them, this means that even now, with our community and the country on lockdown, we can continue to develop and improve our provision.
We are very proud of the impact that technology has had on our academic provision. Some might argue that the speed at which the world changes causes a dilemma for education, but when harnessed properly, it also represents an amazing opportunity, and we look forward to embedding more and more into our curriculum in the future.