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iPads In Action: What We Can Learn From Hove Park School

Ipad 2014-01-28 at 10.57.36

As more schools integrate tablets into the classroom, pupils and teachers are starting to see the benefits. Last week The Telegraph published an article about Derek Trimmer and Hove Park; one of the few UK schools where every pupil owns an iPad.

Since Trimmer took over in 2011, every child has been provided an iPad – either by their parents or the school itself. Fast-forward to 2014 and Hove Park is the second most improved school in the south east.

The head teacher insists iPads have played a major role in developments at Hove Park, showing us all how to bring education into the 21st century.

Addressing the problem

UK schools are falling behind other nations. Education news is flooded with stories of under-performing schools, teachers and pupils. Clearly something needs to change. And Derek Trimmer got proactive after taking the helm at Hove Park.

“You’d see children losing it 30 to 40 per cent of the lesson,” he explains. Which underlines the real problem. You can’t teach a pupil if you haven’t got their attention. And this is where tablets in the classroom come into their own.

So the solution for Hove Park was to equip every pupil with an iPad. Now 40 per cent of its pupils have received an iPad from the school, while the remaining 60 per cent either owned one already or got one from their parents.

Tablets in, even when school’s out

Trimmer hails the impact the scheme has made. Teachers and pupils are both getting better results and the benefits aren’t confined to the classroom. “The iPad offers the opportunity to stay engaged,” he says. “But the thing that got us excited was the impact of taking work home and sharing it and engaging with parents.”

Tablets give education a new dynamic. Pupils are not confined to learning in the classroom. While repetitive homework tasks have been replaced with varied, more engaging activities. Pupils can collaborate with each other online, get help from teachers and involve their parents at home.

Back to school

Back in the classroom, Trimmer describes the impact as “incredible”. The days of waiting for slow computers to load are way behind Hove Park. And lessons are running smoother too, thanks to a range of educational apps.

“There’s an app called Nearpod where, when the children are following a presentation, they can fire back answers and a child’s answer can be picked up on immediately. There’s a window with children if the get instant feedback and the results are incredible.”

With educational apps big on the agenda for 2014, the tools available to teachers and pupils is only going to increase. And variety is the key to engaging pupils. With tablets students carry an entire library of information, internet access and a device that displays almost every media format available.

Variation maintains interest, while pupils have the freedom to use and combine the resources they find most effective. And Trimmer advocates the impact his iPad scheme has made on Hove Park. “In terms of education, I think it’s a game changer,” he says. “I would like to see them across all schools.”

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