Nether Stowe School technology roll-out continues to boost students’ ‘Learning Futures’
Students and staff at Lichfield’s Nether Stowe School are benefiting from the next phase of an ambitious project which is using technology to revolutionise learning.
In January, every student at the St Chad’s Road school, which is part of the respected Arthur Terry Learning Partnership (ATLP), was given an iPad as part of the Learning Futures scheme.
Now the project, which has provided 11,000 iPads across the ATLP’s 21 schools, has moved to its next phase – with each student being given a stylus to use with their personal device.
Nether Stowe’s Assistant headteacher Steve Peace said:
“The roll-out of Learning Futures was all about equity, and making sure that every single child has access to the same technology to aid their learning.
The children have really taken to the iPads, but what we found was that, after the devices were given out, some students were buying their own styluses to use with them, which perhaps gave them an advantage over their classmates.
So, it was decided that every student would be given a stylus, to enable them to release more of the functionality of the iPad, and to ensure there is a level playing field where everyone has the same opportunity to learn.”
A stylus is a small, pen-shaped instrument, whose tip position on the iPad can be detected, which can be used to write, draw, or make selections by tapping.
Mr Peace explained: “It’s important that the students still write, because they have to write in exams – and the styluses allow them to do that on their iPads while also enabling them to do so much more.
“We still use the traditional exercise books for longer written pieces of work, as this technology allows the children to upload their written work onto the iPads and bring all of their notes together into one place, so that it’s all there when they need it to revise.”
Crucially, Mr Peace said the new technology is helping teaching staff give students direct and personal feedback on their progress, using a programme called Showbie.
He said: “In the classroom, teachers give students feedback on how they are getting on, but when they are marking work away from the classroom written feedback can often be open to interpretation – it’s not as effective as being able to speak to the student.
“By using Showbie, teachers not only get to do the traditional marking using a red pen, they can leave voice messages for students, which is a very direct and personal way of building their understanding and enthusiasm for the subject.”
A team from the Canadian company that developed Showbie recently visited Nether Stowe to see how it was transforming student learning.
Another function on the iPads, called Soctrative, enables teachers to measure a student’s understanding of a subject, helping them to identify when they need specific help.
Mr Peace said: “Socrative is very useful and is another way that the technology is helping us to personalise teaching for students and improve feedback to them.
“For example, it allows teachers to set simple multiple choice tests which can then highlight areas where a class is less confident in a subject, or where an individual needs a little extra support. It’s very quick, and very direct, and helps build a dialogue between the student and teacher.”
Nether Stowe Headteacher Glyn Langston-Jones said: “The roll-out of Learning Futures has made a huge difference to life at Nether Stowe, enthusing staff and students by providing access to brilliant technology for everyone.
“Providing all of our students with a stylus was the next natural step in ensuring there is a level playing field for all of them.
“Functions like Showbie and Socatrive are also enabling us to make significant improvements in assessment methods and Learning Futures is making a real difference at Nether Stowe.”
NS ATLP STYLUS 1
Students at Lichfield’s Nether Stowe School have each been given a stylus to use with their own personal iPad, as part of the ambitious Learning Futures scheme.
NS ATLP STYLUS 2
Using a stylus enables students to release more of the functionality of their iPad.
NS ATLP STYLUS 3
The Learning Futures scheme has provided 11,000 iPads across the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership’s 21 schools.