Leith Academy pupils show off their iPads. Supplied/City of Edinburgh Council
The City of Edinburgh Council scheme which will see every pupil from P6 to S6 in Scotland’s capital receive an iPad to aid their learning has got underway.
The programme, which is part of Edinburgh Council’s education strategy, will see 27,500 new iPads and 12,000 refreshed iPads issued to pupils and teachers.
And younger students are not to miss out – with plans for additional iPads to be distributed to P1 to P5 year groups to be shared for learning. Meanwhile, staff in early years will receive 250 new iPads and have 900 iPads migrated.
Connectivity will also be expanded, with additional wireless access points to be provided in schools.
The ’empowered learning’ scheme, which is being carried out with Edinburgh Council’s strategic technology partner, CGI, is being funded with £17.6m from the local authority’s budget.
It is due for completion by the end of this year.
It is hoped the project, which also includes a comprehensive programme of professional learning for teachers, will provide equal access to education, personalise learning, improve teacher feedback, prepare students for future working, and support efforts to raise attainment.
This week has seen pupils at St Augustine’s RC and Gracemount High Schools receive their devices.
Leith Academy is one of the schools where digital devices have already been distributed.
Head teacher Mike Irving said: “The rollout of digital devices to all P6-S6 young people and staff across Edinburgh’s schools is a significant, positive and exciting development for learning. Young people will discover new and innovative ways to engage by using many of the features available through the applications and technology available at their fingertips.
“Digital devices are not there to replace teaching and learning, but to enhance it further so youngsters can engage in learning that is relevant, fun and most importantly impactful. Young people know when they are being invested in, and this step from the Council is a significant and sustained investment in the future learning, outcomes and achievements of Edinburgh’s children and young people.”
Shlok Godiyal, an S3 pupil at Leith Academy, said: “I think having the iPad will give me greater flexibility in how and when I can work on tasks, topics and assignments. There will be times when I need to log onto Teams sessions or complete work at home, the iPad helps me with this ability to work anytime, anywhere.
“I also think the iPad will open opportunities in learning by using features such as video recording, use of 3D imaging and it will help me with my independent learning and study as I progress into S4, S5 and S6. As young people today we are used to technology in our lives, so this is a good addition to our learning.”
Councillor Ian Perry, education convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “It’s great to see the rollout getting underway as the Empowered Learning programme is about both investing in our children and young people and our teachers to maximise the exciting learning opportunities in Scotland’s Capital city.
“We’ve committed £17.5m from our budget so pupils from P6 to S6 can have their own devices and have equal access to learning. This programme opens up the opportunity for pupils to learn in new and exciting ways, brings with it a raft of wider benefits including extra support and professional development opportunities for teachers and is expanding wifi to provide fast and reliable internet access in every school.”
Councillor Alison Dickie, education vice convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “The rollout meets a key element of our council business plan which is increasing attainment for everyone and reducing the poverty-related attainment gap. Ensuring pupils have their own device means they have personal access to digital learning whether with their teacher in school or at home.
“We want every young person to achieve their fullest potential and the Empowered Learning programme is another tool in the educational toolbox to equip our pupils with the skills and knowledge to succeed in a future that is becoming increasingly digital.”
Tara McGeehan, president, CGI in the UK and Australia said: “CGI is delighted to be working in partnership with City of Edinburgh Council to deliver Empowered Learning to pupils and teachers in the capital. Empowered Learning provides a learning environment that’s engaging and inspirational. It directly tackles the attainment gap and recognises the key role of educators in delivering a digital classroom.
“Through Empowered Learning, educators can create and tailor lessons to personalise learning, and access new ways of bringing learning to life. Above all, Empowered Learning delivers learning that is rich and rewarding for both pupils and for their parents, as well as providing the highest level of security and safety standards.”