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Digital Citizens: putting Technology at the heart of learning

As we enter further into the 21st century, digital technology is increasingly used in classrooms up and down the country. As well as the advances made in the Merseyside region, Howard Junior School (Academy) in Norfolk is leading the way in digital education by putting technology at the heart of learning. With almost one iPad per child and lessons delivered in the form of HD virtual experiences, the school enhances the learning environments of its pupils by giving them direct access to advanced technology. Year 3 teacher, David Martin, shares his ideas with Merseyside schools on the ways Howard Junior School is giving its ‘digital citizens’ a head start and preparing them for the future.

Our headteacher, Mr Greg Hill, has instilled a digital nature into Howard Junior School. So much so, that the year 3 class, taught by teacher David Martin, now have lessons in an added dimension. Children in class 3M, are found in one of the most digitally advanced classrooms in Norfolk, called ‘The Inspire Suite’. Here children have access to their own personalised iPad, an ultra HD video wall, a HD ActivPanel and a Promethean smart board. In addition to this, each child has their own pair of 3D glasses, which pave the way for learning in 3D.

With access to images and videos in 3D, children are immersed in environments and transported to places which they may never witness or come across. Coupled with surround sound, the children are able to view the images with accompanying sound to intensify the experience. For example, last week class 3M visited a rainforest with images and videos portraying the sights in 3D, together with sounds to enjoy a complete experience. In turn, each child was able to describe the rainforest using wonderful vocabulary and adjectives, thanks to the experience of 3D.

Best of all, the children really enjoy the 3D lessons, and are fully engaged throughout their writing task. In the near future, children will be experiencing virtual tours of castles, as part of their castles topic. The iPads are a fantastic resource and learning tool, the children have access to the world at their finger tip.

Thanks to the full support of our head teacher and the expertise of our assistant head teacher, Mr Jason Harper, we currently have over 160 iPads, almost enough for one iPad per child. Since the introduction of our iPad for Life scheme, we have seen SATs scores rise year by year, and we are one of Norfolk’s top performing schools. We believe that the iPads are preparing children for the future, for jobs that may not even be invented yet. Technology is a part of life, and we believe children get the best start by owning their own iPad, and becoming a digital citizen.

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