Tablets for Schools Proposal
Phase 1. September 2012 - September 2013
‘Tablets for Schools’ is a multi-agency Corporate Responsibility programme that believes that enabling every child in the UK to have access to tablet computing and content in school and home, will transform education through technology.
It is widely recognised that the successful implementation of tablet computing into the UK education system can only be achieved through the collaboration of public and private sector representatives, expert academics and specialised not for profit organisations. A collaborative approach to solving the issues faced by schools when embedding this technology (e.g. infrastructure, connectivity, hardware devices, financing, relevant content etc.), is necessary if we are to realise our ambition to modernise the education system. The aim of this programme is to facilitate this collaboration.
The Tablets for Schools programme will be launched during a reception at the House of Lords on July 10, 2012. This event will be hosted by The Right Honourable The Lord Willis of Knaresborough and attended by key stakeholders and school representatives including Head Teachers of three schools who are currently using tablets as an educational tool.
Extending over a number of years, the first phase of the Programme will focus on three objectives:
1. Inviting relevant stakeholders to take part in the programme; this involvement might come in the form of a financial contribution, knowledge sharing (such as research data), skills and expertise or providing educational software or resource.
2. An evaluation of the impact of tablet technology on the achievements of young people, commencing Autumn 2012, with a special focus on Maths and Year 7 pupils (11 year olds). This will include trialling and measuring a selected portfolio of maths-based learning resources within 30 participating schools.
3. A report of our findings with recommendations to be released to key stakeholders, education chiefs, schools and the public during Autumn 2013. As well as reviewing tablet content, we will engage with schools to review other aspects of embedding tablets; including infrastructure, connectivity, financing and hardware specifics.
Our original strategy was to embed tablets in a number of trial schools and evaluate how the technology was used, with the aim of informing the development of a prototype tablet for widespread use in schools.
Consultation revealed that manufacturers have been actively embedding tablets into schools for some time and have substantial data relating to the use of their own branded device. However, there is no aggregated evidence that tablet technology significantly aids learning. Official endorsement for the widespread use of tablets in schools cannot happen without substantiated, independent evidence to convincingly prove our case for tablet technology. Education stakeholders are in agreement that the analysis of ‘measurable content’ is key to gaining this.
As Europe’s biggest independent technology retailer, Carphone Warehouse has the ability to co-ordinate a multi-agency approach, collate existing data, facilitate expert working groups to tackle existing concerns and help pave the way for the introduction of tablet technology in all UK schools.
We have already begun this task by researching how tablets are being used both across the world and within the UK, as well as the benefits and concerns encountered when embedding this technology into the schooling system. Our research included the study of schools situated in Belfast, Kent and Essex where children are already benefiting from tablet use.
This research has allowed us to understand more about what are considered to be three primary issues regarding the use of tablet technology in schools:
1. A lack of specialised training for teachers around the use of tablet technology
2. Concerns for students when faced with sitting traditional paper-based examinations
3. The growing mass of unregulated content in the app world
Although funding is by no means guaranteed, we will be applying to the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for match-funding to support our proposal through its Knowledge Exchange Opportunities Scheme which is designed to promote the application of social science within non-academic communities. The scheme matches 50 per cent of the total project cost, and applicants can apply for a maximum of £125,000.
The ESRC is the UK’s largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. Its total budget for 2012/13 is £205 million. At any one time it supports over 4,000 researchers in academic institutions and independent research institutions.
Tablets for Schools - The Programme:
This is a corporate social responsibility project to enhance education in the UK by enabling access to tablet computing and recommended content for children in school and at home.
While we have designed a robust programme framework, we accept that flexibility and iteration will be necessary.
1. The Approach:
Our initial trial will evaluate and facilitate a platform to aid access to, and use of, a portfolio of
relevant, measurable electronic educational content for year 7 mathematics students and their teachers. Mathematics was selected for two reasons:
1. Data collection and subsequent analysis is much easier and more accurate on quantitative subjects than data collected on qualitative subjects, such as history.
2. Mathematics has been highlighted as a ‘cause for concern’ by the Government and Ofsted
We will also review hardware, content, connectivity, teacher training, parental support, financing and insurance.
Data will be collected using a variety of methods, including web analytics, surveys, interviews and focus groups.
2. The Scope:
We will engage 30 schools using tablets from September 2012 – September 2013. Some of these schools will already have tablets embedded, whilst some will be introducing them for the first time. This will allow us to differentiate between systemic problems and those that arise only on initial implementation. We will also review other aspects of embedding tablets, including infrastructure, connectivity, leasing arrangements and hardware specifics.
The implementation into schools will be managed by School Liaison Officers from the e-learning Foundation.
On recommendation by the Department for Education and in recognition of Carphone Warehouse’s limited experience in the education sector, we have entered into a partnership with the e-Learning Foundation, registered charity no: 1086306.
For the past 12 years the foundation has been providing a free advisory and support service to help schools develop the most appropriate technology strategy as well as actively campaigning to keep the role of ICT in education at the forefront of public consciousness.
4. Advisory Board:
At the initial stages, we will be bringing together two major stakeholder groups, a Content Stakeholder Group and an Advisory Board.
The Advisory Board will have responsibility for authenticating and overseeing the programme and will be consulted on the development of the content portfolio. The Board will include representatives from exam boards, academic research groups, teaching bodies and unions.
5. Content Stakeholder Group:
A Content Stakeholder Group will comprise key content developers who will meet at regular intervals, starting in July 2012. The Group will discuss current issues and share ideas around the development and usage of curriculum based content as well as teaching aids and the platforms on which the content will be hosted.
This Group will aim to enhance user experience and create and trial an agreed portfolio of accessible content. Inevitably some conflict of interests may occur and we will make every effort to protect Intellectual Property.
6. The Report:
All findings will be compiled into a report, available in Autumn 2013. The report will be independently produced and include guidance around hardware, content, connectivity, teacher training, parental support, financing and insurance.
The report will be presented to Government Officials and made available to stakeholders to aid development of their product or service. Schools will also have access to the report for consideration when introducing tablets in schools.
“Put very simply, we want every child at school to have their own tablet computer for their schoolwork. We recognise this will not happen overnight and accept we cannot do this alone which is why we are adopting a sustainable and inclusive approach. This is a real opportunity for companies, educators, academics, Third Sector organisations and Government to come together in the interests of our young people. If we can help make that happen, we will have made an important contribution”
Andrew Harrison, Chief Executive, Carphone Warehouse & Chair of Tablets for Schools
“The impact that a big company like Carphone Warehouse can make cannot be under-estimated. The work of our charity in helping schools provide children with their own device will be significantly enhanced by their ability to engage major companies, raise CSR funds and collect well-grounded evidence of the impact that learning technologies can have on young people’s education achievements.”
Valerie Thompson, Chief Executive of the e-Learning Foundation
For more information, email: email@example.com