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iPads and Mobile Devices

Royal Wootton Bassett Academy strives to provide the highest possible standard of education for all our students. We are preparing our students for a world where digital technology is transforming social and work life at an ever increasing pace.

We hope our mobile devices for learning will allow every student the opportunity to use a personal device that they use both in school and at home to support their learning.


Why change the current way we work?

There are many answers for this and they include the following:

Introduction of Wi-Fi

Royal Wootton Bassett Academy has invested in a wireless network to provide complete coverage across the whole school site to facilitate student and staff use of laptops to support learning. However, with the incredible rate of change in this and other associated technologies, we are again investing in a new, replacement next-generation wireless network to allow many more mobile devices to connect to Academy resources and our filtered internet connection to support and further enhance teaching and learning

When was this planned?

After a successful initial pilot study on the use of mobile devices to support learning within the Academy, we approached our Parent Voice group earlier in 2013 to solicit their views. There was a lot of support from the Parent Voice group for us to introduce a scheme to enable students to have an affordable personal device.

Improving the quality of learning:

The most effective lessons are those where students:

  • receive highly personalised feedback and
  • where the level of challenge is high for all students, so that they are self-motivated and
  • develop as independent learners

The content must be engaging and any processing of information must be at a deep level. Used effectively, a student device provides the teacher with a greater set of tools at their disposal to facilitate outstanding lessons. The device in itself will not turn a poor lesson into a good one, nor does it in any way replace the professional judgement of the teacher to determine how best to support their students.

However, if you ask teachers what would make the biggest difference to student progress they will say that it is the student's self-motivation, engagement and independent learning skills that will have the biggest impact on their success. A personal device offers new opportunities to motivate and engage students of all abilities. It empowers the student to take control of their learning and to work in a more individualised way. Additionally the opportunity to work collaboratively with other students both within school and beyond has the potential to greatly enhance a child's understanding and educational progress.

Research Evidence:

There is a wealth of long term studies which look at what has the greatest impact on student progress, and it is these documents that we have used to support us in developing a training programme for iPad use and in ensuring that the technology will be effectively employed at RWBA.

Particularly key is the The Sutton Trust-EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit research. Their website at is an accessible summary of educational research which provides guidance for teachers and schools on how to use their resources to improve the attainment of students.

For example, research summarised in the Toolkit shows that improving the quality feedback provided to pupils has an average impact of eight months. This means that pupils in a class where high quality feedback is provided will make on average eight months more progress over the course of a year compared to another class of pupils which were performing at the same level at the start of the year.

The top three teaching approaches that have the biggest impact on student progress are:

  • Effective feedback +8 months
  • Meta-cognition & self-regulation (learning to learn) +8 months
  • Peer tutoring/peer assisted learning +6 months

The focus of the initial trial was to look at how a mobile device might support these approaches in order to further develop teaching and learning at RWBA, and ensure that whole staff training and use is focused on the areas where there are potentially the greatest impacts.

Whist the full potential is still being realised here are some very simple examples of how iPads could help:

Effective Feedback

NearPod, Plickers and Socrative Apps - allows a whole class to be quizzed quickly and the data analysed by the teacher to pick up on individual misconceptions. The level of questioning can be moderated to provide different levels of feedback; a report of student responses is emailed to the teacher.

ShowMyHomework - the opportunity for assignments (whether homwwork or broader responses) to be completed electronically and then submitted via an app to the teacher provides huge potential. These assignments can be marked quickly, returned to the students for improvement and then resent in a much more timely and effective fashion than currently possible. The app or website will also include a parent view of what work has been assigned to their children, along with the date work must be submitted, and the feedback received.

Microsoft Whiteboard/Show Me App - allows the iPad screen to function as a mini-whiteboard which students write on with their finger, to give the teacher instant feedback.

Verbal feedback - staff can produce more detailed responses to student work by recording audio feedback which the student can then listen to in their own time. An App called Explain Everything can allow a video to be made of the marking process. Work does not need to be typed to be marked in this way, it can be photographed and emailed to the teacher.


Interactive text - whether students are reading worksheets or textbooks, the iPad allows them to check their comprehension by clicking on keywords and defining them. It also allows notes to be written while the text is being read to support the student in gathering their thoughts, and securing their understanding.

iBooks - an entirely new kind of textbook that’s dynamic, current, engrossing and truly interactive. iBooks textbooks on iPad offer a gorgeous, full-screen experience full of interactive diagrams, photos and videos. No longer limited to static pictures to illustrate the text, now students can dive into an image with interactive captions, rotate a 3D object or have the answer spring to life in a chapter review. They can flip through a book by simply sliding a finger along the bottom of the screen. Highlighting text, taking notes, searching for content and finding definitions in the glossary are just as easy. And with all their books on a single iPad, students will have no problem carrying them wherever they go.

Animation software - some subjects require large amounts of abstract thinking. By building and animating 3D models of complex processes students can form a far greater understanding and recall of the process.

Mind-mapping software - essay planning and revision can be greatly supported by the student developing mind maps of key concepts. These can be produced alone or collaboratively.

ShowMe - this App can also be used for students to draw or write and then speak and record, therefore providing them with a means to articulate a thought process. It is particularly useful if students provide a voiceover to a sequence of events or film.

Electronic sharing of exam questions - students are more likely to take a risk with answers if they know that the work will be quickly returned to them for improvement. By emailing their answers the students can receive faster, more relevant feedback and be expected to have improved their answers before the next lesson.

Students are frequently asked to produce interesting, imaginative pieces of work for homework; assessing these can be difficult as a computer room would be required. When students have an iPad they can bump their work to each other for peer assessment.

Students can collaborate on shared resources via the Microsoft Office Web Apps available through our intranet.

Model answers can be instantly shared with the whole class.

High quality staff training will be provided to ensure that iPads are used effectively.

Students with Special Educational Needs

Students with specific learning difficulties can benefit enormously from using iPads. Students can follow video instructions which they can stop and restart if they are following a complex method.

They can produce their own video and photographic evidence for portfolio work. Students with poor reading and writing skills can use the Dragon Dictation App to dictate notes. The colour and size of text can easily be adjusted for accessibility.

When students see the quality of the work they are able to produce on an iPad it has an extremely positive impact on their self-confidence and ability to tackle the next challenging task.

Maintain opportunities for students to have access to digital resources:

The current approach to departments booking computer rooms is becoming increasingly outdated, inflexible and does not facilitate effective learning. Whole lessons have to be spent in
the computer room, when they may only really be needed for 20 minutes of research. By introducing personal, mobile devices it will enable us to focus our attention and funding to areas of the Academy that require it.

Equip students with the skills they need for the future

We have a duty of care to our students and our role extends beyond ensuring that they pass exams. Students at RWBA need to leave us confident that they can safely navigate the wider world in which they live and will work.

Universities and businesses are expecting students to be digitally literate and have an awareness of their personal digital footprint. Many employers will now study a person's online presence before deciding on whether to employ them. We must ensure that we support parents in helping our students understand the difference between what is public and what is private. Developing trustworthy individuals is extremely important.

More and more college and university students use personal devices to support their studies and this practice is growing throughout academia. Many corporations are also looking at the ways in which new technologies can support them. We want to give our students the life skills and understanding to be ahead of others in terms of employability.

More effective home learning

It is a constant concern to parents, staff and students that the link between school and home learning is not always clear. A device which is used both in and out of school to facilitate longer term projects, challenge-based approaches and the ability to learn anytime anywhere has the potential to transform our approach to home learning for the better.

For example,students could access resources prior to their lessons in the form of video, textbooks and podcasts, so that they arrive at the lessons better prepared to focus on the higher level thinking skills aspects of the course.

Literacy and communication skills

A group of students run an online school newspaper called The Scribbler. At present it is quite difficult for students to read this newspaper in school. If all students have mobile devices they will be able to read the newspaper during breaks and lunches and this will hopefully encourage more students to write their own articles for the newspaper and have an exciting forum to share information.

Why iPads?

An extensive comparison of various devices was undertaken and the iPad proved to be the most competitive in a number of key areas:
• 10 hour battery life
• Lightweight and portable
• Extensive range of cheap/free apps, developed specifically for educational use on the iPad
• Familiar and desirable
• Intuitive to use, as there is only one input method
• Range of inbuilt sensors and two cameras
• Competitively priced
• Apple's closed ecosystem, means that only certified Apps can be installed, giving some degree of confidence in the Apps to which students have access. The Apps will not contain viruses and can be restricted by age group.

Is it possible to write essays on an iPad?

Yes – an Apple app called Pages as well as Microsoft Word are both available as a free download for all devices, however there will not be an expectation that students will type work anymore than they currently do.

In fact, all of the productivity apps – Pages, Keynote and Numbers – along with GarageBand, iPhoto and iMovie are free to download for all new devices.

All documents produced using Pages, Keynote and Numbers are compatible with Word, PowerPoint and Excel and students can move between PCs and the iPad easily when working on the same
document, buy uploading or downloading the document from their device via the ‘Files’ link on our website. Our intranet also has the Microsoft Office Web Apps installed which means that any device with an internet browser can edit Office documents stored on our intranet within the browser.

It is possible to buy a separate keyboard which can be used with the iPad.

How will the iPad impact on the quality of students' hand writing?

Students will still be expected to hand write work. There will be no need to word process all their work, in the same way that there is no advantage to doing so at present. However there is an argument, in terms of sustainability, that work stored electronically would reduce paper wastage.

Apps such as Penultimate allow students to create notes on their iPads, and the Microsoft Office OneNote App is available for iPads. We also have OneNote installed on our workstations, and there is also a corresponding Web App for OneNote.

Exams still take place on paper, so how will the iPads help with this?

As mentioned above practice exams and essays will still be handwritten. If these would benefit from electronic marking then they can be photographed and emailed to the teacher, consequently providing an electronic backup of the work. This is much the same as the way in which exams are actually marked.

1:1 or a class set of iPads?

Each student with their own device means that they take real ownership of the device and look after it, learn how to use it effectively and develop appropriate skills in its usage. The link between home and school learning means that projects can take on much greater depth and not be restrained by the 60 minutes in the classroom that are available to work on them.

Parents can play a greater part in supporting and understanding the work that students are doing in class.

By carrying a mobile device from lesson to lesson it is easy to develop cross-curricular projects. For example, real data gathered in science could be analysed in maths, providing a great opportunity for a cross-curricular projects. There is evidence that providing students with more open ended homework tasks greatly increases their motivation and effort levels.

Why not wait for a few years until more schools have gone down this route?

At present there is a huge amount of support and enthusiasm available to help us drive forward this initiative. Digitally literate students are required now and any stalling in the process may leave our current students at a disadvantage.

How will you measure the impact of iPads on learning?

We are rigorous in our approaches to assessment at all key stages, across all subject areas. Regular assessment that is consistent year on year will provide some data on the impact of iPads, however we are aware of the challenges in linking this data solely to iPad use. More meaningful information will be gathered during our current school self-evaluation procedures, which include regular lesson observations, learning walks, work scrutiny and student voice surveys. The focus in all of these processes is to evaluate the amount of progress that students are making, we will be diligent in ensuring that we are also assessing the use of iPads and their impact.

Most businesses do not use iPads, how will you ensure that students have all the IT skills they may need?

The iPad does not replace the need to teach Computer Science, and this will still be delivered at KS3 to all students in our computer rooms. We also feel strongly that we should offer Computing to students, and we have GCSE and A level groups currently taking these subjects. Whilst there are Apps that facilitate programming, e.g. Codea, we still teach programming using Lego Mindstorms, Flowol, Python, C# and Microsoft Visual Basic which are provided by the Academy in lessons.

Staff Training

The training requirement of staff will vary widely and some staff will feel much more comfortable than others about using the device in the classroom. The most important aspect is that staff have ample time to learn how to use the device and only do so if they feel it would improve learning in that lesson.

When will training take place?

Opportunities will be provided throughout the academic year to ensure that all staff have time to learn from experts, each other and the students.

This includes, but is not limited to:

• Early distribution of iPad Minis to staff in the June 2013 Twilight training session with a very simple overview of how they work and some clear links to effective teaching and learning.
• Further training later in the academic year, supported by Apple Distinguished Educators, with a focus on basic uses of the iPad and some clear links to effective teaching and learning.
• The development of a team of 'iPad Champions' including staff members from each faculty who receive additional training and are enthusiastic about the device who can cascade this
training back to their faculties.
• Weekly iPad ‘tip-of-the-week’ in staff briefing to share good practice and provide an opportunity to learn the latest techniques.

Will staff have to spend hours rewriting resources so that they work on iPads?

Word, PowerPoint and Excel resources placed on the intranet can be viewed and edited on an iPad using the Microsoft Office Web Apps, or native Microsoft Office apps for the iPad. Apps such as NearPod allow staff to import PowerPoints they have already created and convert them into interactive learning resources very quickly.

Any paper copies of work can be scanned and converted into digital documents, or photographed for use on the iPad.

Student Safety

There are many risks in this area and it is important that all students engage fully with understanding the risks before any iPads are issued.

Will our students be in danger if they are carrying an expensive iPad to school?

We take this concern very seriously and our advice to students will be to hand the iPad straight over if they are challenged. We ask that when the iPad is initially set up that parents ensure the ‘Find My iPad’ feature is switched on. The iPad can then be remotely tracked only by the person who has registered the iPad using their own AppleID. There is no way that the Academy can track the location of the iPad at any time.

A large number of our students currently carry very expensive smart phones to school and are not under threat because of this.

A substantial number of secondary schools across the country are in a similar position to us, meaning that it is likely that students carrying iPads will be commonplace across most schools in the future.

How will we ensure that students are not in danger when using social networking sites?

It is possible to block access to certain sites using our filtered internet connection within school on the iPads, in the same way that we do with our networked computers in classrooms. We are mindful of our duty of care to our students and the responsibility that we have to educate them so that they understand the risks associated with social media and use it safely and positively.

The Academy provides a programme of study in Computer Science lessons on e-Safety in Year 7, and there continue to be Assemblies to each year group on cyberbullying.

Will students spend all day staring at a computer screen?

Staff training will focus on effective short term use of the iPad. It will not be used in every lesson, all lesson. Many of the uses may involve using the video camera or working collaboratively with other students. A lesson with heavy iPad use may see it used, for example, as a quizzing tool at the start, to carry out 10 minutes of independent research in the middle and to photograph written work to swap with a fellow student to peer assess at the end. Teachers are free to approach this differently in their lessons based on what activities they feel is suitable.

What risk assessments have been completed to look at Internet misuse, copyright and privacy?

These are currently issues for all organisations and are covered in our current policies. The iPad does not change the fact that our students use the Internet in school, carry out research and create resources.

How can I stop my child from using the internet all night?

Many internet routers in homes have a feature to restrict the time that a particular device can access the internet. Parents are encouraged to read the supporting documentation that came with their routers in order to turn this feature on. The MAC address – which is the hardware identifier needed to block access – can be found on an iPad by going to Settings  General  About, and looking for the Wi-Fi Address. Enter this address into your internet router.

Some routers also offer the option to block certain websites from being accessed from a particular device. Again, parents are actively encouraged to refer to the supporting documentation that came with their routers.

Device Safety

What safeguards are in place to stop children downloading inappropriate apps?

Parents will be informed on how to set up the device restrictions to prevent children from downloading anything to the device from the App Store that has a higher age restriction from the one imposed on the device. Parents should ensure that they do not share the PIN to lock the restriction settings with their children.

What happens during lessons such as Drama, DT and PE?

During lessons, devices will be with the students, much in the same way we expect pens, planners etc. to be with students in lessons. At the start of the lesson, the protocol will be that the device is placed on the desk with the cover closed. I would not expect a device to be stored in a bag outside the classroom when there is a potential for it to be used in lessons. In PE, the management of changing rooms will be that everyone leaves and enters at the same time, and the doors locked so the devices are secured within the changing rooms. During breaks and lunch times, lockers that are available to pupils can be used.

Behaviour Management

All students will sign an Acceptable Use Policy which clearly sets out how any mobile device, not restricted to iPads, should be used.

How will the teacher stop students playing games?

The teacher will still be in charge of the classroom, and set engaging, challenging activities with expected outcomes that drive the focus of the class just as they do now.

Anecdotal reports from the trial have indicated that students enjoy using the iPads and are motivated by the independence and creativity that they afford.

However, there will of course be some abuse of the device and it will be dealt with by following the usual behaviour management protocols in the same way that poor behaviour is dealt with at the moment.

Teachers will always have the right to remove Apps from an iPad during the lesson, ask students to close the case or put the iPad away.

What will happen at break and lunchtime?

Students will be allowed to use the iPad at break and lunch. However, we feel a situation where students spend their break and lunchtime playing games is completely unacceptable.

We start the process from a position of trust, if we find that students abuse that trust then we will react accordingly and develop a stricter policy if necessary.

What if students use the iPad to photograph each other without permission?

This issue is covered in the Acceptable Use Policy and will be taken very seriously, in the same way that it is now if a student uses their mobile phone in this way.

Playing games and taking photographs/video are possible now, as the majority of our students carry mobile phones. iPads would fit into our existing policies for dealing with such incidents.


Will the WiFi be able to cope with over 1000 iPads online at once?

Yes. The Academy is currently has installed a wireless network to provide full wireless coverage across the site. This replacement will be designed to cope with a large number of
wireless devices being used at any given time.

How often and complex will it be to login?

1:1 iPads do not have separate user accounts like computers so there will not be the same requirement to login. Class sets of iPads that can be booked by the teacher require the students to log in by tapping their photograph and entering a 4 digit PIN. Log-on times for Shared iPads is around 20 seconds after the initial set-up.

Any access to services like school email, files, iTunes or other Apps that hold personal information will store any required username and password details within them so will only need to be changed whenever you change that password. However, if someone were to find an iPad they would be able to access this information without needing to enter these details so it is important that the iPad has a password lock on it. This can be as simple as a 4 digit code to a more complex alphanumeric password. It is advised that both the parent and child know the passcode or password to the device and there is an agreement that the child does not change it to ‘lock out’ the parent.

Where will students' work be saved

Depending on the type of work, it may be stored in several locations. Some files will still be stored and accessed from existing school resources like our intranet or network drives and other files will be stored in “the Cloud” using services like OneDrive for Business and iCloud. Some files will be stored on the iPad itself and these can be set to be backed up automatically to iCloud.

What happens to the students work if the iPad is lost, broken etc.

It is envisaged that most work would be stored either in “the Cloud” or on Royal Wootton Bassett Academy servers and these files would not be affected. As long as the iPad has the automatic backup set, and it has been backed up recently, students will be able to restore the files and settings onto their new iPad using iCloud.

What happens if a student forgets to charge their iPad?

Students are encouraged to ensure their iPads are fully charged at the beginning of each school day. Unfortunately, we will not hold spare devices to be issued to students. Where technology is an explicit feature of the lesson, the Academy will provide the appropriate technology for that lesson.

What happens if a student forgets their iPad?

Should a student forget their iPad, the same procedure as above would apply.

How will students print from iPads?

When iPads are connected to the unsecured RWBA wireless network for the first time and the acceptable use policy accepted, a profile will be pushed to the device that configures the device automatically to connect to our secure wireless network, and install the PaperCut app. Pupils can then send their work to be printed using AirPrint on the iPad to the printers that are located around the school and use their ID cards to release their printing in much the same way that they do currently.

The profiles pushed to the devices when connected to the school wireless network do not apply when the device is connected to a home wireless network.

What will happen to Flash based websites that are currently used?

iPads will not be able to display Flash based websites. However, there are certain Apps that could be used to enable Flash based websites to be accessed, such as the Rover browser, but this would need to be evaluated on a resource by resource basis. The number of Flash based resources will diminish over the coming years as Flash itself is phased out and, while this transition occurs, teachers will be able to guide students accordingly.

Will the battery life decrease over a three year period?

It is possible, that there may be some decrease in battery life over a three year period. To what extent this will occur is unknown and will depend on how a particular iPad is used. Apple have produced a guide on how to care for the battery at

What happens if a student does not have Internet access at home?

If a student does not have access to the Internet at home then the iPad can still be used but will lose some of its effectiveness. While the student will not be able to access services like email, they would still be able to work on most Apps that are installed on the iPad and create new files or content. They will have to save this content on their iPad and then upload it once they return to school and are connected to the wireless network using the ‘files’ link on our website.

Essential resources such as textbooks made by their teacher can be downloaded directly onto their iPad whilst they are at school.

How can the iPad be used for presentations, without various iPads being able to interfere with what is projected?

There are various ways around this including using Apple TVs which have a passcode, or plugging the iPad into the projector directly.