Cedars is known as the home of the world's first whole-school 1:1 iPad programme. Because we receive many enquiries about this every week - more than we can easily handle - this page is designed to answer your initial questions about our iPad deployment.
What is 1:1?
Simply put, "one to one" IT provision describes any situation where there is one computer for one child. At Cedars, every pupil receives an iPad to use as their own device for the duration of the year.
Why do you use iPad?
We have always used computers at Cedars. In 1999, we were one of the first schools to have a common log-in system. In 2008 we installed WiFi across the school and deployed a suite of laptops for pupil use.
In late 2009, we had a problem: teachers were so keen to use computers in the classroom, we didn't have enough devices to satisfy that demand. We asked ourselves how we could increase that provision. We evaluated netbooks and hand-held devices but didn't feel that anything was quite right. Traditional laptops were bulky, expensive and slow. Hand-held devices, we thought, were too small to build a whole-school IT strategy on.
A month after we had this discussion, the iPad was announced. We had been looking for something that was as easy to use as an iPhone but with a larger screen. The iPad was exactly what we had been looking for.
What do pupils use their iPad for?
Our experience has been that the iPad is most effective as a device for pupils to express their learning and creativity. We don't look at the iPad as simply an electronic textbook - pupils use it to write, draw, mind-map, email, perform music, play games, create animations and write programs.
How often do the pupils use their iPad?
There's no single answer to this question, but we have a simple rule: we use the iPad everywhere it helps learning and, when it doesn't help, we put it away. We find that it helps a lot!
Do pupils take their iPad home?
Yes, from Primary 6 and upwards.
What about distraction in the classroom?
Many people believe that the use of 1:1 computers will present a distraction in the classroom. This certainly can happen but our experience has been that a combination of good classroom management and designing engaging and relevant lessons can minimise this problem. After all, children have been doodling on paper and staring out the window for decades!
What about children damaging their iPad?
Many people's first reaction to the idea of using iPad in school is that they will inevitably get broken. While accidents do happen, we have found that the personalisation that comes from a 1:1 deployment means that pupils take good care of their devices. Our breakage rate is around 3% per year.
What about the possible health impact of WiFi?
Our policy is to follow the advice of the UK Health Protection Agency and the Scottish Government in relation to WiFi. The HPA currently advises that there is "no consistent evidence to date that exposure to radio signals from Wi-Fi and WLANs adversely affects the health of the general population".
Can I test my iPad app with your school?
Sorry, no. We get asked this a lot and our blanket policy is that we do not participate in unsolicited beta testing of software or services.
Can I visit your school?
We have a regular individual visit programme that is free to educators. You can sign up for a visit on our Eventbrite page.
If you would like to bring a larger delegation from your school or company (e.g. publisher, software vendor or IT reseller) , we can facilitate visits for a fee. Please get in touch with Fraser Speirs (email@example.com).