Over the last year, The City of Leicester College have been carrying out the city’s first the first trial of a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) model in the city. A school award BSF ICT Innovation Award, the project involves a Y8 tutor group using iPad minis at home and at school to judge the viability of a whole-school scheme. The project was led by Tony Tompkins, College Leader for New Technology at the school.
The project began in February 2013, with the learners receiving their iPad minis in November 2013, as part of the move into their new school building. The First Interim Report (July 2013) detailed the rationale and early preparations for the project, and the Second Interim Report (January 2014) discusses implementation and initial results from the trial. The project’s final Report reviews the impact the project has made on progress for the students, details the final list of tested apps and provides details of the school’s new 1-to-1 iPad-mini scheme.
Final App List
Many apps have come and gone throughout this year. We have refined our list, removing apps whose functionality is duplicated or done better elsewhere. What remains is a solid set of apps that have wide applicability. A list of this apps can be found in the full report at the bottom of this post.
When considering which paid apps are worth the money, my advice is to avoid narrow subject specific apps and consider instead purchasing a few quality productivity or presentation apps that will be used across the college. Apps like “Explain Everything” and “iBook Creator” are worth investing in and will offer excellent value for money, especially if students (and staff!) are given some initial training in what can be achieved.
As well as identifying useful apps, attention needs to be given to developing effective workflows for students and staff. Productivity apps such as Evernote can be used very effectively in school. Below is an example of students using Evernote to create a digital version of their exercise book. Students take a photo every time they complete a page in their exercise book using Evernote, which then scans them using Character Recognition. Their written notes become a fully indexed searchable resource which they always have access to– even when they forget their book or the teacher has collected it in for marking. Because Evernote can also store photos, typed notes, pdfs, webclips and audio files, students can keep their whole learning experience together in one place. Students can also share this notebook with their teachers, who can view it any time, and create their own notes to give feedback.
The BYOD trial has provided an invaluable opportunity to show that a 1-to-1 scheme is logistically possible, allowed us to figure out the best way to deploy the devices, and proved the case that 1-to-1 has a positive effect on progress and attitudes to school. The next step for us is to now widen out these benefits to all of our students, and we are about to embark on an ambitious scheme to bring this about.
The TCOLC BYOD trial has shown the school:
- The iPad mini is a great size for students – fits in with their exercise books, is light for students to hold and use. 16GB is sufficient for school use and all the apps required (although it doesn’t leave much space for games so may limit dual home-school use)
- The best setup for the devices was using a layered profile approach, allowing the college to push out its own paid or required apps silently over wifi, whilst leaving the student able to install their own apps via the app store.
- Personal safety and device security has not really been an issue. Students quickly become very attached to their devices and look after them very carefully.
- The best apps to purchase are not narrow subject orientated apps, but good quality productivity or presentation apps with wide applicability.
- 1-to-1 impacts positively on Behaviour, attendance and progress
- Teachers don’t necessarily need to change how they teach their 1-to-1 class, but it worked best where their use was encouraged and staff were flexible about the format students chose to output their work in.
- Invest a little more in cases – if you buy cheap, you buy twice (or end up with cracked screens)
The trial has demonstrated that a 1-to-1 solution based on the iPad mini is feasible and shown that it has a positive impact on students. It has provided the College with the knowledge, understanding and most importantly the confidence to launch our TCOLC 1-to-1 scheme later this year.