FAQ for Parents/ Carers
What is the 1:1 Empowered Learning project?
The Empowered Learning project is part of the City of Edinburgh Council’s ambitious and inclusive education strategy, Edinburgh Learns for Life. 39,000 iPads will be issued in a 1:1 roll-out thanks to a £17.6m boost to learning and teaching. Empowered Learning is a project that will give your child/children their own personal iPad for their learning. If your child is in P1 to P5 they will have access to a shared iPad but will not be allowed to take it home. If your child is in P6 to S6 then the iPad will be theirs to take home at the end of each day. Your child will be expected to bring the iPad, fully charged, with them to school to be used in their lessons. By giving your child access to an iPad, their teachers can:
- provide more opportunities for your child to be creative and actively engaged in their learning
- help your child communicate and collaborate with their peers
- provide feedback that is more effective at helping your child improve
- provide access to apps that can help your child learn and personalise their learning experience
- give your child schoolwork which is specific to their learning needs
- help your child develop essential skills to prepare them for future study and employment in an increasingly digital world
All children across the City of Edinburgh will have fair and equal access to technology with their own iPad. We will also provide opportunities for teachers to learn how to effectively use iPads to support your child in their learning. We will start giving schools their iPads later this year and the project will run until the end of 2022.
What is the rationale behind the Empowered Learning project?
Empowered Learning is aimed at providing fair and equal access to technology for all children across the City of Edinburgh. It will ensure that all children in P6 to S6 will have personal access to digital and online learning materials at home and in class. Giving children an iPad, meets a key part of the 15 outcomes and actions from the Council’s three-year business plan ‘Our Future Council, Our Future City:’ ‘increasing attainment for all and reducing the poverty-related attainment gap.’
The 1:1 programme also reinforces our aim to becoming one of the world’s ‘smartest cities’. Last year Edinburgh was listed in the smart city of the year digital 100 shortlist following our recent work with CGI and other partners to enhance connectivity and embrace new technologies. In addition, the roll-out meets Article 29 (goals of education) for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which highlights the importance of developing every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full.
How will 1:1 Empowered Learning help my child?
Access to an iPad will help prepare your child for success in our rapidly evolving digital world by:
- encouraging equality for children across all Edinburgh schools
- developing your child’s curiosity, critical thinking and providing engaging, meaningful experiences in learning using the latest digital technology
- allowing your child to have more personalised and transformative learning experiences
- enhancing your child’s creativity
- extending your child’s learning and enhancing collaboration within multiple learning environments
- providing access to up-to-date, authentic information from a large variety or sources which can allow your child to publish their work beyond the classroom
- helping to develop your child’s thinking and digital literacy skills which are vital for success in further study and employment in our technology rich society
- enabling increased involvement for parents in their child’s learning processes
There are several reasons why we have chosen iPads as our core device for digital learning and teaching. We’ve been using iPads in City of Edinburgh Council schools for over 8 years so lots of our teaching staff are familiar with using them. iPads are easy to use, fast, robust, has great battery life and provides access to an excellent range of educational tools. Previous research the City of Edinburgh Council conducted across multiple device platforms revealed deeper, more creative and more effective learning on the iPad. The iPad operating system also includes a wide range of accessibility features. This makes it an excellent device to help pupils with additional support needs work more independently and unlock learning.
Will my child use their iPad in every lesson?
This will depend on your child’s specific teachers or classes. The iPad will give your child access to a range of apps to support their learning and deepen their understanding. Your child’s teacher can support your child to use these apps in class in a variety of different ways. For instance: your child could show their understanding of their classwork in a number of more creative ways such as by making a film, using images or by writing a piece of text.
Will my child still use jotters/ textbooks in class?
Empowered Learning is not intended to replace traditional learning tools. Instead, it will be used to enhance the learning environment for your child. By using the iPads and apps in a supplementary manner, teachers can help develop your child’s technology skills, creativity and personalisation of their learning, whilst also continuing to advance other core literacy skills such as reading and writing.
What training have staff undertaken in preparation for 1:1 Empowered Learning?
The City of Edinburgh has been using iPads to support learning and teaching for a number of years. The skills and experience developed during this time has been used to inform and enhance the current training offerings. Staff have received support to incorporate the use of Digital Learning in their lessons. Teachers will have access to asynchronous bespoke training sessions to support them in using their new iPad and dedicated support teams will be available after the iPads have been issued to everyone.
Will teachers/ the City of Edinburgh Council have full control over the iPad?
All iPads will be administered to a Mobile Device Management (MDM) software and have the Classroom app installed. This gives staff full control over their functionality such as freezing/ locking screens, remotely wiping iPads or viewing browsing history etc. This will ensure a safe and versatile learning environment that can be tailored to each child.
Can my child use their own device instead?
No, in order to promote a consistent learning environment with as much support as possible, we expect all children to use only the iPad that is issued to them. To fulfil City of Edinburgh Council’s data security policies, the iPads are encrypted and managed via our central Mobile Device Management (MDM) software.
When will my child be issued with an iPad?
We will start giving children and staff their iPads later this year and the project will run until the end of 2022.
Will there be ‘getting started’ sessions for my child to learn the basics of using the iPad?
‘Getting started’ sessions will take place when iPads are distributed. Your child will have access to bespoke training sessions to support them in using their iPad. Staff in schools will also be available to provide support after the iPads have been issued to everyone.
Will my child bring their iPad home?
If your child is in P6 to S6, then yes, the iPad is theirs to take home each day.
What responsibilities will my child have for the safe use of the iPad?
When your child receives their iPad, they are responsible keeping it safe. They must only take it out of their schoolbag when they are in a lesson, as instructed by their teachers, or at home. The provided case for the iPad must always be used to protect the it from potential damage. Your child will need to charge up their iPad every night using the charger supplied and bring it into school each day fully charged. The iPad is designed to be a tool to help your child learn and must only be used in this way. Your child’s responsibilities are outlined in the Home School Agreement, which you, your child and the school will need to sign before your child is issued with their iPad.
What are my responsibilities as a parent/ carer?
Parent/carer’s responsibilities are outlined in the Home School Agreement, which you, your child and the school will need to sign before your child is issued with their iPad. We would encourage parents/carers to:
- reinforce our messages regarding safe use of technology
- use internet filters to control access to certain web content at home
- remind their child to fully charge their iPad prior to coming into school
- report any breakages or technical issues as soon as possible
Do I need to provide Wi-Fi/ internet access at home?
Not necessarily. While it is anticipated that some apps will require internet access, this can be accessed via the iPad in school. If your child requires internet access to complete work, they can access the school internet during school opening hours for instance; before the school day starts, at lunchtime or after school. Apps that do not require an active internet connection can be used anywhere. iPads given to students will have sufficient memory to store downloaded materials to be used at home too.
What content will there be on the iPads?
Each iPad will contain a suite of core education apps specifically selected for the needs of each learner. A fully managed dedicated app store will also allow your child and their teachers to download apps that have been pre-approved for use.
Can my child access the internet on the iPad?
iPads issued will allow your child to access the internet, however, inappropriate sites will be blocked in school by our firewall to prevent your child from accessing them. In addition, social media websites and apps that could facilitate cyberbullying will be blocked too. Teachers will also encourage the safe use of technology while in class or at home.
Are photos or videos allowed to be taken on the iPad?
Your child’s iPad will have a built-in camera, but they must only use it to support their learning. Your child must never record or take a photo of anyone without their clear and explicit permission.
What happens if the iPad is damaged, lost or stolen?
Procedures are in place to deal with technical issues and iPads can be remotely locked to prevent access if they are found by someone. If your child’s iPad is damaged, lost or stolen in school then they must immediately tell their teacher or a senior member of staff who will get in touch with someone who can help. If your child’s iPad is lost or stolen at times when contact with the school cannot be achieved such as weekends or holiday periods, then you must immediately report this to the police and then tell your child’s school. An incident number should be obtained from the police.
What support is there is place for teachers?
Staff have been using iPads for their work and with learners for several years. Staff have received support to embed the use of Digital Learning in their practice. The sharing of good practice amongst staff has taken place throughout this time, coupled with various in-house workshops. Teachers will have access to asynchronous bespoke training sessions to support them in using their new iPads and dedicated support teams will be available after they have been issued to everyone.
Will I receive any form of support to assist my child with their iPad at home?
Empowered Learning will provide schools with additional support materials for parents such as useful websites or user guides.
What happens if my child leaves their iPad at home or they forget to charge it?
Your child will be expected to bring their iPad with them every day. If they forget their iPad, they will be expected to work using alternative resources; for instance, pencils/ paper. However, they must bring their iPad with them the next again day. If they arrive in class with their iPad out of charge, depending on the circumstances, they may be allowed to use a charging cable during the lesson.
Can my child get a keyboard?
Yes, and any other extra equipment for ease of use can be provided depending on individual learner requirements. Please contact your school if you wish to make a request.
What measures are in place to protect my child’s security online/ prevent cyberbullying? What safety measures are in place? How do I report unsuitable content/behaviour?
All iPads are securely managed and will only have access to pre-approved applications. All apps will have security and privacy assessments before approval. Inappropriate websites will be blocked on the iPad. In addition, social media websites and apps that could facilitate cyberbullying will be blocked too. Teachers will also encourage the safe use of technology to your child while in class or at home.
My child spends a lot of time on their devices already, how often will the iPads be used?
Empowered Learning aims to promote constructive and practical use of technology in learning environments. Your child will only use their iPad for digital learning purposes and not for extracurricular activities. Therefore, the additional screen time that Empowered Learning may add to your child is minimal. If you are concerned about your child’s screen time please read: https://www.internetmatters.org/issues/screen-time/.
Schools may also distribute advice on matters such as this.
What will happen if my child moves or leaves school?
If your child moves to another City of Edinburgh Council school, they will need to return their iPad and accessories and will be issued a replacement one by your new school. Once your child leaves school, they must return the iPad and any accessories.
We will share further FAQs and more information on the programme in the coming weeks via email and on the web.