The iPad as a Tool For Education – a case study


English: iPads offer a variety of software
English: iPads offer a variety of software (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This case study focuses on the implementation of an an iPad programme, at Longfield Academy in Kent (UK). Longfield Academy is a mixed secondary school for students aged 11 to 18 years of age. There are currently around 970 students at the academy, with around 160 of these in the sixth form.

Overall, the case-study reported that the use of iPads has positively impacted learning and teaching. One teacher asserted that, “The iPads have revolutionised teaching”. I wasn’t so convinced that this case study added much to support the use of iPads in education. There did not appear to be a transition to a knowledge building approach by students, where they work on ill-defined problems, in authentic contexts to co-construct their own knowledge in context – in their community for example. Would be good to hear what you think….

As yet, data around improvements in students achievement has not yet been collected.

You can download the full report (see below) – as a taster:

Such devices cannot be dismissed as mere toys or distractions and while they bring with them technical and management issues, these are far outweighed by increased student motivation, progress and collaboration. Students using them regularly indicate that their iPads have become an indispensable tool, facilitating research, communication with teachers and, as in art, saving considerable time so enabling greater achievement.

Teachers too, though perhaps with the same inbuilt cynicism that many have for any new technology, are very positive about the value of the iPads and articulate many of the benefits, not only for learning but for themselves. In the context of a restructured school in brand new buildings, to enable almost all students and all staff to have a new tablet device, one not designed for such a situation, and to integrate it into learning and teaching, as has happened at Longfield, would be considered brave by many. Yet the project proved to be extremely successful. While the technology has been an integral part of that success, a key factor has been the quality of the initial and ongoing project management, without which the outcome may have been very different. Sound change management principles have been applied and other schools intending to implement similar projects should learn from the experience of Longfield Academy.

In a presentation to schools and industry in March 2012, the Principal, Anne Davis, set out nine lessons that the school had learned from the project up to that point and it is useful to repeat these here:

  1. Develop a clear vision and strategy for your 1:1 scheme
  2. Define your learning culture
  3. Define and create your user experience and support model
  4. Work with a traffic light and reporting system
  5. Evaluate your existing position
  6. Know how many staff and students already own, in this case, an iOS device
  7. Get everyone involved –don’t let a perception grow that it is a ‘done deal’, even if it is!
  8. Get devices in teachers and learners hand as soon as possible
  9. Record and share your experiences

(source, p. 50)


About ictenhancedlearningandteaching

I am a director and consultant at Ethos Consultancy NZ ( I have a keen interest in all aspects of ICT Enhanced Learning and Teaching (ICTELT) where the focus lies on ways of scaffolding and empowering learners. In particular, I am interested in the way that creative, blended approached to Academic Professional Development can create trust, rapport and encourage reflective practice. As such, ICTELT is approached from facilitation, design, evaluation and assessment as opposed to the tools and what they can offer. I am a strong advocate of the potential of Web 2.0 to empower learners from all walks of life and cultures, especially after my experiences working for 6 years in the Middle East. In particular, I am interested how ePortfolios can be used in the VET sector (especially where Literacy and Language challenges are faced), in Recognition of Prior Learning, and in authentic, applied assessment. I have been involved with designing and developing ICTELT approaches and programmes for ten years. Following research informed approaches and design, I apply a qualitative, iterative process to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, programmes and tools, encouraging learners' voices and input from all stakeholders.
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