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iPad Teaching

Introducing David Kirtlan

David is an Apple Professional Learning Specialist and former school leader.

Kirsty Cumming

Kirsty Cumming

Kirsty is a specialist in EdTech innovation and communication

We’re delighted to be hosting a series of blogs where David will outline some of the crucial considerations for school Senior Leadership Teams in relation to EdTech with a specific focus on Apple and iPads.

David is a former Academy Director in a large FE college, who then became Education Director of the Backstage Academy, before moving into independent consultancy and training. He became an ADE (Apple Distinguished Educator) in 2004 whilst a Deputy Head, an Apple Professional Learning Specialist in 2011, and has since supported schools worldwide, and spoken at international education conferences and events.

He is best known for his work in music education and established the #iPadBand project which has now run within several thousand schools, engaging children with music. His education management experience and 20+ years teaching, enables him to connect with teachers, educators, students and pupils at all levels, across the curriculum, from EYFS to HE.

David is very experienced at supporting schools who are just starting their iPad journey, or schools who are well established and looking to develop deeper and more engaging learning with technology. He has supported many multi-academy trusts and worked with leadership teams to ensure that that all staff are supported, the children are excited about learning, and the long-term plans for the school are in place and successful. He is at his happiest in the classroom, modelling lessons and working with children.


Article by: David Kirtlan

Making iPads work for your school

Bringing iPads into your school can be a daunting task, what if they don’t work, or teachers won’t use them; how do we assess any work on them…? And this is before we think about the financial implications, never mind sustaining it for the coming years. It’s a big job for any SLT.

I’ve worked through a large 1:1 deployment, and since supported a lot of schools doing the same, so hopefully over the next few blogs I can set out some areas for SLTs to think about and suggest some approaches and solutions.

We spend a lot of time talking about networks when we first look at putting iPads into our schools. Are there enough WiFi access points? What about the internet bandwidth when all the children are working on iPads at the same time? And these really are fundamental parts of the jigsaw that we have to get right from the very beginning. If the technology doesn’t work from the beginning, some teachers won’t go back and try it when it does.

However, while making the network infrastructure do what we need is important, we also need to turn our thoughts to ensuring that there is an infrastructure for learning in place.

An infrastructure for learning is a wide topic, and one that SLT need to think about in depth. It introduces a lot of a questions right from the start:

  • How do we ensure iPads are used across all year groups?
  • How to get all teachers using the iPads effectively?
  • How do we support children using iPads?
  • What apps do we use?
  • What about assessment?
  • How is work on the iPad integrated with more traditional classwork tasks?

The good news is that there is a lot of help out there to support you in finding answers to these critical questions, and if your SLT think about these questions early enough in this journey, it can be relatively painless. There is no single right answer, every school does things their own way, but the important thing is that it’s a considered and planned approach.

Over this series of blogs, I’ll introduce some approaches, and some solutions to these questions, and we will make the journey to embedding iPads effectively in your school easier.

The next blog in the series will look at how you can ensure you make the right app choices for your school. I will share some of the effective processes I have worked through with schools and list my top 5 must have apps for one-to-one iPad schools. This series will be released weekly so keep an eye on your inbox or connect with me on LinkedIn.

In the meantime, if you have any specific questions about introducing iPads into your school, please reach out to the Sparkjar team.

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You can read all David's blogs in the series here:

  1.  It's about the teacher not the app
  2. Getting all staff engaged with iPad teaching
  3. Thinking about assessment
  4. Sustaining use and developing skills
  5. Live video lessons: an on-going role in education
  6. Why Sparkjar is important for schools
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