The iPad has changed learning beyond all recognition. Gone are the days of specific rooms within schools and other education establishments that are filled with PC’s and I.T equipment. These facilities were inaccessible to most of the pupils most of the time, which was far from ideal. Tablets have redefined the whole education experience, allowing you to work almost anywhere with instant access to the internet. The iPad brought a user interface that children could intuitively use, this in turn gave them access to the latest educational apps and text books.
But how can a school make these devices available in every classroom?
Brandwood School has around 475 children, aged from 3-11 with two forms per year group. Like most schools they could only dream of providing a full set of tablets to each class. They have a limited number of tablets and these would have to be shared in a way that worked with the needs of a busy timetable.
Enabling effective, seamless device sharing across the classrooms?
The solution for Brandwood, like many of the schools we work with, was to create a mobile bank of iPads, a unit that could be moved from classroom to classroom, on demand. This mobility was great, but they also needed a solution that could offer secure storage and something to charge the iPads whilst they were stored within it. The whole idea behind tablets and iPads in the classroom was to give the users greater access, the Brandwood ICT team really wanted a solution where the pupils could dock and undock the devices themselves, secure in the knowledge that both the pupils and devices were safe.
Bolton Schools ICT
Of the 93 Primary Schools in Bolton, around 90% rely on the Bolton Schools ICT (SICT) for their technology needs, accessing the skills and expertise that they have built up over many years. SICT will research, recommend, source, supply, install and maintain IT and AV equipment for those schools.
John Entwistle heads the operations team in SICT, he runs a continuous research process to ensure the best technology and best support is available to his schools, or customers, as he sees them. John always puts product quality and durability at the top of his selection criteria, reasoning that any small savings in hardware costs are easily wiped out by just one product failure.
So when Brandwood School contacted him with its requirements he had no hesitation in recommending Loxit and the TabCart – mobile tablet storage solution.
“We have looked at many store and charge cart solutions and all too often been let down by the build quality and durability. So when we came across Loxit we were delighted to find not only a good range of excellently designed trolleys, but also very robust construction in a rugged yet compact solution. Being a UK company with UK production was also reassuring, as we needed to be able to guarantee the quality and delivery schedules to fit in with the schools’ timetables”.
Our relationship with Brandwood began when SICT installed three TabCart 32’s, one on each floor of the main school building. Initially the ‘carts were stocked with 20 iPads each, over time this has been expanded as budgets have permitted.
The most important aspect of this for the school was the ability to bring technology into every aspect of the curriculum, As Jenny Dodd, deputy head recalls…“Being able to bring the iPads into the classroom brought a whole new dimension to our teaching and we saw big gains in engagement across all ages and abilities. The vast array of content available – from the subject-specific, such as Maths Wiz, or Spellodrome, to the many, many Bookclub titles specifically chosen to generate great class discussions. It is far in excess of what we could offer from traditional textbooks with an ICT suite.
The Loxit TabCarts are a godsend. Not only are they secure and robust, we know our iPads are safe overnight, but they are very easily manoeuvred, we allow the children to wheel them to where they are needed. They are also so easy to use: we get the pupils to unplug the iPads, and plug them back in again at the end of the lesson – a huge timesaver for every teacher. When (on the very rare occasions) that we are not using them, the cart is small enough to sit unobtrusively at the side of the classroom charging the iPads ready for the next session.”
Brandwood further advances
The staff and pupils at Brandwood have not looked back. Like many of the other primary schools across the country, tablets have revolutionised the delivery of the curriculum. But Brandwood didn’t stop there, they wanted to get more utility from their IT resources. The next step saw the original ICT suite being completely revamped. Renamed “The Orchard Learning Centre”. This is where pupils undertake more complex projects such as video production.
Brandwood also caters for its high intake of non-English speakers with a dedicated TabCart that contains 16 iPads, it is located in the Lilypad library. These iPads are equipped with the latest apps to help pupils transition smoothly into the school.
Brandwood now runs over 100 iPads across the school, every device is integrated into the delivery of the curriculum across all areas of the school, all controlled and managed from TabCart’s.
“Several years on, our initial assessments have proved correct, the Loxit carts have stood the test of time very well. Proving to be as durable as they appeared and we continue to be impressed by the professionalism and dedication of the Loxit team.” John Entwistle, SICT
The latest additions to the portfolio include 32 laptops, these are stored and charged (of course) in two Loxit Lapbank 16 trolleys. John Entwistle’s team installed them and like the TabCart’s before them, they are providing the vital flexibility of location and secure resource that the school needs.