Principal Chris McKinlay explains the reasons for selecting iPads to trial at Grant's Braes School and the benefits they have provided to students' learning.
When we were looking at what technology we wanted to buy next, we looked at what we had because we’d already gone with the laptops we looked at what would complement that. We decided that the iPads would fit in really well. We saw them a wee bit like an interactive board that could be used personally - it’s more portable, it can be used with small groups, things like that rather than right up the front of the classroom. We saw it having real powerful strength there but we didn’t want to try and replace our laptops, we wanted something that would complement them.
When we looked at the iPads we decided that we would start with five because we wanted them to be tools for children. We wanted them to be hands on. That way (by getting five) we could have a whole group working with them and it wasn’t just the teacher with the iPad - it was very much the children hands on and we could actually see the real benefits that way. That fitted in for us better with some of the research we’d seen overseas and the way they were using them in America and places like that.
We think that the iPad trial has been really successful for us and while we haven’t had concrete evidence yet that it’s improved their academic ability, we really believe that it has. As we’ve been on this journey we can see that through the benefits it’s had for the special needs or the learning extension programme children. The benefits it’s had for the boys and the high interaction and engagement of the students that we feel that that must have benefitted them academically as well because we’ve engaged those students who have been reluctant learners in the past. Although we’re seeing good results from them we can’t tie it directly back to the iPads but we think they’ve definitely contributed.