The technological landscape is always changing and young people are engaging in the use of devices at a younger age than ever before. At Shrewsbury we recognise both the challenges and opportunities this presents, and the necessity for our own teaching and learning practices to evolve to keep ahead of the curve.
With this in mind, Shrewsbury will be introducing the “Bring your Own Device” (BYOD) scheme to the Year 4 curriculum this term. From our very youngest Early Years classrooms, the school allows all children to build familiarity and confidence with the use of iPads and other technologies. However, the BYOD scheme – which is already integrated from Year 5 upwards – allows this technology to be used in innovative ways and at any time, right across curriculum learning; an extremely powerful tool for teachers and students alike.
On Friday 10th January, Year 4 Parents were invited to an introductory presentation to hear about how iPads will be used in class and how they would benefit learning. Parents also had a hands-on experience using the device themselves, assisted by the Year 6 digital leaders.
Shrewsbury’s teachers are leaders in their field, and the trend towards using the same device at home and school allows the children to become fluent users, and to maximise the device’s potential. It also allows parents to easily access the work their children have been doing throughout the day, helping them to be active participants in the learning process. This collaborative learning approach, is key pillar of Shrewsbury’s High Quality Learning philosophy. To launch the scheme, each Year 4 class is also invited to an individual workshop session where Parents and Students are shown how to use the devices and discuss any technical or safety concerns they have.
Just a few benefits of having iPads in class include access to an instant camera, an art suite to make edits and the ability to write and format documents as and when inspiration strikes. We want our children to be creators and innovators, not just passive users.
Junior Digital Lead Mr. James Knight says with this new development comes challenges as students this young do find it difficult to monitor their usage.
“Classroom and specialist teachers understand their role is not only to teach the power of the new technology but also to inform student about how to be safe and responsible digital citizens.”
Mr. Knight says the technology itself has built in applications that help parents and teachers keep a measured approach to device usage.
“These iPads are intuitive and powerful machines. Each iPad has a comprehensive firewall and a screen time control so boundaries can be set and met.”
The launch of the Year 4 BYOD scheme comes ahead of the FOBIT conference, which is to be hosted at Shrewsbury Riverside on 28th and 29th of February and which will be attended by teachers from across the region. Teachers will share best practice from their own classrooms, and also hear from a range of industry leaders about the very latest developments in Educational Technologies.