It is now six months since iPads were given to every pupil and member of staff at Mansfield’s Manor Academy.
Head teacher Donna Trusler says the devices have put her students ahead of the curve to launch themselves into what she sees as 21st Century education.
One thing is for sure - the new technology is not going away.
The school’s case is that early adopters of it will have a head start in life.
Chad visited the Academy to see how the interactive devices - which have had their share of controversy over the past few months - were being used in action.
Mrs Trusler said: “The iPads are bringing education into the 21st Century because most of our students very often have Blackberries and iPhones and they expect that they can use these interactive devices and get very up to date information.
“If we present them with a 20-year-old text book that has old information, it means that they can’t learn to the best of their ability.
She said The iPads mean that learning is far more interactive,
“They can contact staff at all times, they can get up to date information and they create their own lesson resources via the teaching team, which means we have the best resources available in the whole of the country as far as I’m aware.”
The academy now works on a system which means regardless of their age pupils can take more advanced exams - and the iPads are just one part of this new way of thinking about education.
Donna Trusler said: “ Year 7 are all 11 years old getting ready to go into our Manor expressway which is our Stage not Age curriculum.
We’re not hugely concerned with their age - we monitor and track closely when they are able and ready to sit GCSEs and A levels and will do so when they are ready.
Some students have been able to sit GCSE literacy exams in year 8 at a very young age.”
Pupils from year 7 were beavering away at their latest project, a presentation which would daunt many an adult.
Donna Trussler said; “They will give presentations to 200 people on the stage with a large microphone to business managers and governors. They have to be confident enough and understand enough to persuade us of their case.”
Jaz Goundry, 11 was preparing for his presentation to persuade someone from Chad to live in England and why it’s good to live here.
Jaz said: “We’re doing a poster about England. I’ve done the landmarks. I’ve done Big Ben and the Angel of the North.
“We are using our iPads to look at the Internet and find facts about both England and Chad.
“They are so easy to use and are useful for finding facts.
“Using iPads is quicker to find information - it is quite a pain when everyone needs to get on one computer.
“We use them a lot in lessons to help us work.
“Everyone has their own. We can take them home and we are set homework on it.
“You can look at it write it on paper or email it to teachers. It’s a lot better with the iPads.”
To keep up with todays frightening pace of change pupils need to be conversant in the myriad of ways in which computers are now used.
Bethany Fenton, 12 said: “I’m emailing my teacher my Powerpoint and my logo so we can merge it together for the final project, so we can make it look more professional.
“The iPads are really good because you can do everything on them and email miss if you have a problem.”
Older pupils doing GCSE product design have been freed of the need to share IT resources.
Mrs Trusler said: “Previously we’ve had to grapple for IT equipment and used it in a very static way but now with the new equipment, students can work far more independently. We’re no longer bound by the restrictions of desktop computers or waiting for a laptop to load and connect to the Internet.
“Each student has a personalised device so when they want to access i-Tunes they can access it straight away.
“The teacher can give them feedback throughout the lesson and also when they are at home.
“We set homework we call take away learning so the student can email if they have an issue or post a question on Facebook or Twitter and the teacher can instantly respond to that.
“It means by the next lesson the student will have made far more progress than would historically have been the case.”