From 2009 the College considered implementing a 1:1 laptop program based on the models adopted by several leading independent schools at the time, including some local schools we investigated. As the costing for the program became clearer we realised that it wasn’t a great fit for our school and neither the staff, students nor parents were ready for that kind of change.
Fast forward a few years and we noticed schools were starting to move away from the traditional laptop as a student device. Schools, not just in Australia, but around the world, were taking a serious look at mobile devices as their 1:1 alternative. When the DER (Digital Education Revolution) funding was allocated to schools here in Australia, many used the money to buy iPads. We were not sure, at that time, if iPads were the right direction for our students. We did, however recognize that iPads had a huge potential in education, so much so that the College deployed several iPad classroom trials during 2011, along with small group trials in specialist areas throughout the Primary School. At the end of 2012 the College provided an iPad for each teacher. The College used the DER funding to continue expanding PC desktop classroom and supplying some classrooms with class sets of laptops as well as upgrading the wireless infrastructure throughout the College campus.
Most conversations at the College at this time were focused on moving to a modern LMS (Learning Management System) away from C3B.net – our then current intranet system. For most of 2012, the Strategic Planning Team for ICT in education completed an extensive Needs Analysis and approached several LMS vendors to submit quotations. After extensive testing and observing LMS systems in action at other schools we decided on Blackboard.
It was during the planning stage to implement Blackboard in conjunction with the development of the Australian Curriculum’s ICT capabilities that the College started to see a real need for students to have their own devices in the classroom. Blackboard provides a personalised online learning experiences, real time collaboration and digital resources to students (see “What is Blackboard” for more details) it made sense that students have access to these features during class.
In Term 4 of 2013, the College operated trials in a few secondary classes using a range of different devices. Some trial classes used laptops, some BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and others used an iPad. The trial showed that the iPad provided the best overall experience.
Feedback from some of the trial teachers included:
Students were able to access information instantly from both Blackboard and the internet as a whole using their iPad. They are so much more efficient because they are ready at a moment’s notice. The battery life is also very long with no charging needed during the day.
….the iPad is the device of choice (over laptops) because of the touch screen and the fast start up time.
Students who had iPads had more success – they were more reliable, than laptops. iPads would be a better option for the future…..
… When a student closes the lid of a laptop it takes some time to get it started again…not an issue on the iPad. When you only have a 40 min lesson you want the device to be quick to start.
Blackboard/Devices Trial Secondary – Term 4 2013
|Mr Stewart||Year 11 English||Windows Laptops|
|Mrs Dodd||Year 11 Information Technology Studies||Mac/PC|
|Year 10 Multimedia||Mac/PC|
|Year 9 Multimedia||iPads (School owned)|
|Mr Borchardt||Year 10 Science||BYOD & iPads (School owned)|
|Mr England||Year 12 Study of Religion||BYOD|
|Mrs Fouche||Year 8 Science||BYOD/Windows Laptops|
|Mr Cook||12 Chemistry||iPads (School owned)|
During the second half of 2013, the members of the Strategic Planning Team for ICT in education also visited key schools around Australia observing both iPad devices and non-iPad devices in use. The schools were chosen for their perceived successes with their device of choice.
In early 2014 the College Executive made the decision that the iPad was the device of choice for students from 2015 onwards (see Why iPad? for further details). This decision for the future was called the Citipointe iPad Initiative. The Strategic Planning Team for ICT in education then went about planning the best way to implement this initiative.
In Term 2 of 2014, two iPad trials were held, one in 10 English and one in Year 7 Science. In order to simulate parameters similar to the launch of the Citipointe iPad Initiative in 2015, the two iPad trials (iPads provided either the by parent or the school) were take home trials. This meant that students were expected to bring their iPad to the lesson and then take the device home each day. The trial proved to be invaluable by presenting multiple challenges, challenges that could be solved this year.
At the end of the Term 2, 2014 iPad trial the College Executive announced the details of the Citipointe iPad Initiative for 2015 (please see Which Year Levels? for more details).
Results from the Term 2, 2014 iPad Trial
Comments from some year 7 students at the completion of the iPad trial included:
Being able to access blackboard when I needed to was helpful.
The iPads have helped with research in the classroom because it is quicker than logging on to a computer.
Makes learning fun and enjoyable.
I did not have to carry my school books around.
The teachers participating in the trial also found that:
The iPad is much more efficient, more space on their desks as they don’t need folders and notebooks.Students can watch videos in class and give feedback quickly. Different apps allow for completing activities in different and innovative ways which keeps students engaged and involved. Students are learning to work with technology in a formal work-based environment which is good for the future!
In History we used an app to create a timeline. One of my students, who usually only does the bare minimum and can be easily distracted, was able to complete the task by going above and beyond the requirements and he was one of the first finished. The use of the iPad increased his engagement and productivity immensely.