At Hugh Sexey Middle School, we believe it is essential to use the resources at our disposal to create a vibrant, innovative and engaging learning experience for your children. By doing so, we can continue to provide the skills and an education which develops each attribute of every student to the full.
To this end we must all be aware that today’s pupils will enter a rapidly changing world. Modern society demands innovation, collaboration, creativity, adaptability and resourcefulness. Quite simply, access to an online world now rich in content and communication has altered the way we live, work and play. Within a safe and controlled environment, it also provides incredible opportunities for learning.
We recognise the vast potential technology has in enriching the learning experience for our pupils. Like many schools, Hugh Sexey has begun a program of bringing mobile technology into the classroom. Technology should never replace effective teaching and learning practice and this continues to be the foundation upon which our school is based. However, with technology we can enrich the learning experience with a greater freedom for creativity, exploration and independent learning.
Many pupils in Years 5 and 6 are able to bring a device into school. For parents who are, or are considering taking advantage of this opportunity, please find below some information that you may find useful. Parents can also find more help and advice on our 'Tablets@Hugh Sexey' VLE page.
This section aims to answer any question you may have about technology use in school.
Q: What is the school's recommended specification for devices brought in to school?
A: Minimum recommended specification:
◾Operating System: iOS, Android, Windows10
◾Screen Size: 7”+
◾Storage space: 32GB+
◾A strong, durable case
◾Suitable insurance against damage and theft
Q. Which applications and resources are used most often to support learning?
A. The primary apps that we use in school include:
◾Office 365 (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneDrive and Email). Each pupil is provided with an Office 365 account for the time they are at the school. This also allows for multiple downloads of these apps on other computers/devices used at home. (Free to download and install).
◾Book Creator (e-book creator that includes multi-media). This isn't free (e.g. £4.99 for an iPad), but is a fantastic tool that can be used in any number of learning scenarios.
◾Firefly Student Planner (A free app that works with our VLE- the school code is 'hughsexey'). This provides the pupils a view of their timetable, see homework tasks and also hand in work they've created using their device to their teachers.
The tablet functions most often use to support learning include:
◾Camera and video (e.g. taking images of work in progress, recording video to provide peer-peer feedback in PE)
◾Safari/Chrome/Windows Explorer to access web-based content as directed by the teacher (e.g. Star Reader, the VLE or Manga High Maths. Web content via any device is filtered in school by the South West Grid for Learning).
Q: How will you keep the devices safe during the school day?
A: The primary responsibility for the safe keeping of the device lies with the pupil and pupils should make sure they have their device with them at all times. When this isn’t possible (e.g. during break times or PE lessons), devices can be kept in secure, lockable areas in classrooms .
Q: Will the wireless network for the school cope with so many devices being used?
A: Our wireless network is set up so each classroom can manage 30 concurrent users plus the teacher. Naturally, the performance of the network will be tested over time. If we experience significant issues, we will be able to carry out work to improve network performance and this has already been planned.
Q: When can my child bring this in to school?
A: Pupils can bring in their device at the start of the new term in January 2017
Q: What happens if the device is damaged between home and school?
A: Parents should ensure that suitable insurance covers this likelihood. It is possible that home insurance needs to be checked to make sure that devices damaged whilst in transit away from home are covered under the policy.
Q: If a child is eligible for Free School Meals, how will the school help us?
A: children eligible for Free School Meals/ Pupil Premium funding can be supported by the school. Parents should contact the school directly, and the school will arrange to meet with parents to discuss how best this can be done.
Q: Tablets are supposed to be used to help with learning, but they could also be a distraction. How will you prevent this?
A: We will not overly control these devices. By doing so, the device would also have restrictions on it at home and we realise this would not be popular! We intend to have a thorough program of education that supports pupils as they learn how to use the devices appropriately. Our behaviour policy will also support us in providing clear, universal procedures that all staff will help to enforce. This way, we will help educate on the effective use of technology. We believe that by restricting access to the full functionality of the device, we are less able to do this.
Q: If you aren’t controlling them, how will you stop children from accessing inappropriate content?
A: The school filtering system that blocks inappropriate sites such as Facebook, Instagram, adult websites etc, will also prevent access on any mobile device brought into school.
Q: What will happen at break and lunchtimes?
A: With the exception of learning activities taking place outside of lesson time, we do not want pupils using these devices outside of lessons and this will be made clear to pupils. Break and lunch times are for extra-curricular enrichment, play and social interaction. We continue to place great importance in supporting pupils’ emotional and physical well-being.
Q: How will a child benefit academically if they have access to a tablet?
A: Tablets will provide a much greater depth of resource that will enable pupils to develop their creativity, independent learning skills and explore more expansive and innovative approaches to the tasks they are set. The School already uses devices to support this, as teachers can enrich the learning experience via media-rich, interactive activities that can be catered for the individual pupil. Pupils will have access to content created by teachers via our VLE and already have access to Office 365. In combination, these resources will help immensely as pupils develop the skills that they will need in a modern world.
Q: Why 1:1 as opposed to a class set of devices?
A: Each pupil with their own device means that they can take ownership of the device and look after it, learn how to use it effectively and continually develop appropriate skills in its usage.
The ability to take the device home and continue to explore learning that has taken place during the day allows for enhanced opportunities to strengthen and deepen understanding. Parents can have a much greater role in supporting and understanding the work that pupils have been doing. Pupils' engagement and involvement in learning can be fostered and can increase their levels of self-motivation. Learning can be much more in-depth as more open-ended projects can greatly increase motivation and effort levels. Without their own device, the presentation and peer-assessment of these projects is often limited as they are produced electronically and have to be printed off or watched one at a time with the whole class. This would no longer be an issue if each pupil brought in their own device.
Q: Many businesses do not use tablets for their work. How will pupils gain ICT skills appropriate for the world of work?
A: A tablet does not replace the need to teach ICT and computing. This will still be delivered in all year groups every week, to ensure all pupils can use multiple ‘industry standard’ products effectively.
Q: Where will pupils’ work be saved?
A: When pupils’ create content using their device, documents can be stored via Office 365 most of the time. Documents stored on the device should be regularly backed-up.