Schools have been on a learning curve like never before over the last year and technology, for better or worse, has been at the heart of it. So what have we learnt? And how do we make the most of all that new experience moving forward?
One of the biggest issues highlighted by the sudden switch to remote teaching was the digital divide between students, and the impacts this has on student outcomes. Prior to the pandemic, this was a largely hidden issue, but it was still there and it is something we in the education and technology sectors should be focused on fixing as a matter of urgency. But we have to beware not to create a secondary digital divide in the types and specifications of devices that students use. So is there a right and wrong choice?
It is now widely accepted that a standardised, one-to-one device provision in schools is what's needed. In the same way as schools provide exercise books they should provide a suitable connected device for each and every student. There are lots of device types out there, so how do we know which is the right one to invest in for our schools?
We have done lots of research on this, and here are our 5 reasons why iPads are the right choice of device for UK schools.
I'm starting with this as there is often an assumption that iPads are financially out of reach. This used to be true, however in recent years the cost has fallen drastically, whilst the processing power and eco-system around them have grown exponentially. Further to this, education hardware suppliers will normally offer buy-back schemes as part of a long term supply contract, and with iPads holding their value so well this is a significant element of any financial considerations. I would strongly recommend getting a ball park figure before writing iPads off purely down to cost. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Ease of use:
The number one criteria for the success of any piece of tech is ease of use and an intuitive interface. In a school setting, you need something simple yet powerful, which won't strike fear into the heart of people who are not tech natives. iPad achieves this which is why it is such an enduring device, and why Apple will continue to invest in and support them for years to come. Investing in one-to-one iPads across your school may not be cheap (it's probably not as expensive as you think it is either) but if they are embraced by staff and students because they are so easy to get to grips with, then you are already on to a winner. Teachers shouldn't be fighting against tech, it should be an aide that they trust.
Schools can be rough and tumble places, and devices need to be able to withstand being stuffed into bags and dumped on tables. As they were always designed to be highly portable, iPads are built to be robust and add a tough case to that and you have a truly practical piece of kit for school life.
As well as having a great eco-system of apps for education purposes, other software platforms also work on Apple divices. Microsoft, Google etc all work well on iPads giving schools and students the broadest possible range of software to choose from to support admin, workflow, and specialist subject learning.
Apple's closed system offers a level of security unparalleled in other platforms. Their Mobile Device Management (MDM) software provides easy central device enrollment, management, and updates, including internet filtering settings and app accessibility.
These are just some of the reasons why we have built our best-in-class teaching and learning app on the iOS platform. Sparkjar takes all the perks of the Apple platform and harnesses their power for education purposes.
There are lots of other reasons why we believe iPads are the right choice of device for UK schools, get in touch if you would like to discuss your school setting and digital strategy.