Embedding technology into prep school life

It never ceases to amaze me how much the use of technology in Independent Schools has changed over just a few years. 

Interested in finding out about ICT in schools? Take a look at our FREE White Paper to discover more >> 

Download The Education White PaperOnly recently, ICT was confined to a suite of school-owned computers in one or two classrooms, specific to the teaching of ICT. Nowadays though, ICT is embedded in everything that we do, and provides part of the learning framework for every lesson, not just ICT. 

I was recently visiting Fiona Price, head of ICT at Stroud Prep School in Romsey. Fiona is also the ICT subject advisor for IAPS, and it's great to see how Stroud have embraced and embedded the use of technology throughout the whole of school life. 

Every pupil at Stroud from year 5 upwards has an allocated iPad, as do the teachers and teaching assistants, with all other students having access to a banked iPad - so about 400 in all. 

To facilitate the use of technology in any part of the school, there is a centrally managed wireless solution that provides coverage across all the various buildings. These types of Wi-Fi systems have moved on light years since the early days of wireless technology, where coverage was sketchy, only a limited number of devices could be connected at any one time in any given area and security was something that had to be set individually on each wireless access point. 

Stroud's Internet connectivity is provided by a 50Mbps leased line; again such circuits were cost prohibitive to many schools not so long ago, but have tumbled in price as the market has opened up, allowing many more Independent Schools to obtain high quality, fast Internet connectivity at a reasonable price. 

The Internet line at Stroud also provides a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection to Stroud's parent school, King Edward VI School in Southampton, allowing for the sharing of resources between the 2 schools. 

By providing pupils with tablets which are routed via the school network, and not allowing smartphones or other tablets in school, Stroud have done much to prevent pupils circumnavigating the school's web access controls. 

Stroud's use of ICT demonstrates how a well-designed system can do much to help pupils use technology as an effective learning tool, without the safeguarding risks or distractions that can come with less controlled access. 

Interested in finding out how you could change how you use ICT in your school? Download our FREE White Paper to find out more >> 

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