Mobile Digital Learning
At Clevedon School over the past five years, we have developed a range of ways to use mobile technology to enhance and support student learning. During this time, we have established strong partnerships with schools, universities and our work was recognised when we were accredited as one of the very first Apple Distinguished Schools in the UK (2014-17). Our national and international partnerships continue to provide our students and teachers opportunities to learn from innovative practice around the world and, at the same time, showcase and share their creativity with digital learning and teaching to an international audience.
Now, in contrast to when we first started on our digital learning journey, many of our local primary schools are regularly using iOS-based systems with class sets of iPads, in all year groups. This means that students joining us in Year 7 are already very familiar with this type of mobile technology and the creative ways in which it can be used to support learning. Our annual survey this year of new Year 7 students revealed that over 85% of our students have access to mobile technology at the point where they join us and of these, 75% have iOS-based operating systems (Apple) devices.
We believe that this familiarity with and access to mobile technology enhances student learning experiences, providing them with the necessary skills, confidence and aptitudes for the world both as it currently is and is likely to be. We teach students to understand and make informed choices about their digital identity and monitor their digital footprint through a rich curriculum of digital learning. As part of this, we have robust policies and expectations that support students and families with issues relating to e-safety and the acceptable use of mobile devices. With this, our digital learning curriculum provides students with regular opportunities to explore the multiple ways mobile technology can support and enhance their learning as they prepare for their future pathways, their on-going education and the world of work.
We have a ‘mixed economy’ of technology at school, accurately reflecting the world we live in! This means that we have dedicated ‘fixed’ computer rooms and resource-bases where students use Windows-based operating systems. For mobile learning, our staff and the majority of our students use an iOS device (iPad). The expectation for staff is to offer students choice in the tools they use for their learning. In the event that a teacher plans a lesson that is best delivered using an iOS mobile device, then there are a number of school iPads available for teachers to book. Our staff CPD programme supports teachers to teach using iPads for mobile learning whilst recognising and accommodating students who use Android/ Windows-based mobile devices. Students can bring their own devices into school to connect to the Wi-Fi and set it up to receive their school email. Along with this, their device gives them access to a wealth of online learning resources and materials created specifically for them by our teachers via our web-based school VLE, ‘Firefly’. We offer a mix of courses and materials available through PDF, iTunesU, and eBooks. Through Firefly, there is centralised access to online homework submission and marking and parents have visibility of student progress. All of this is immediately accessible on a mobile device.
All mobile devices are subject to the same Acceptable Use Policy that applies to all computer equipment (fixed and mobile) used in the school. We advise that all mobile devices have a good case and is covered by suitable insurance as we know that accidents do happen.
Our clear message to teachers and students is that the “Mobile devices should enhance, not dictate learning to help us put learning in the hands of learners”.