How using technology in the classroom can help prepare children for the workplace of the future

Student at Ackworth School in Yorkshire using iPad Pro in class

'Virtually every working adult in the UK is using some sort of mobile or digital device to communicate and work smarter, and we’re teaching our students to do the same.' - Credit: Ackworth School

In a world of artificial intelligence, iPads and ever-expanding technology, how can we make the classrooms of today a functional learning environment to educate the adults of tomorrow?

Jeffrey Swales, deputy head of Ackworth School in Yorkshire, reveals what new technologies they’ve introduced to the classroom and how it’s preparing students for the world ahead.

Q: Why should schools welcome technology into the classroom?

Student at Ackworth Sixth Form using iPad Pro in history class

'Every senior school student has their own iPad and we’re now rolling these out to all junior school students too.' - Credit: Ackworth School

A: Virtually every working adult in the UK is using some sort of mobile or digital device to communicate and work smarter, and we’re teaching our students to do the same. We’ll teach students how to use technology proficiently, safely, and effectively and give them the skills they need to secure their dream jobs, take online courses, and get the university places and apprenticeships they want.

Q: What new technologies have you introduced at Ackworth School?

A: We’ve replaced fixed computers with iPads for every teacher and upgraded projectors to 65-inch TVs. Teachers are more mobile, can provide real-time feedback on students’ work, and easily share visual learning materials. Students can get more from their lessons and benefits from teachers’ undivided attention.

Every senior school student has their own iPad and we’re now rolling these out to all junior school students too.

Q: What are the benefits of using technology in education?

A: Students can access their notes and resources for every subject via their iPad. This means whether they're at school, in the boarding house, or at home, they have access to everything they need to complete independent study, homework, research and revision. It’s also better for the environment as it cuts out the need to print learning materials.

Technology use in classrooms allows teachers to easily track what work has been handed in and ensure students are keeping up with coursework.

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Now that we don’t need to wait around for IT labs, we can offer more interactive classroom projects. Year 7 students are cutting and editing videos as a way of studying and exploring history instead of just reading about it.

Assistive technology helps students with learning disabilities. Large fonts make text easy to break down, we can change screen background colours to help with dyslexia and students can glance at word definitions to increase their understanding.

Q: How has the technology helped students and teachers cope during the pandemic?

Students and teachers at Ackworth School in Yorkshire using iPads in the classroom

'Year 7 students are cutting and editing videos on their iPad as a way of exploring history instead of just reading about it.' - Credit: Ackworth School

A: The iPads helped us to deliver education to students during coronavirus. The switch to online learning was practically seamless. We could provide an almost uninterrupted curriculum, preventing students from falling behind and offering them stability.

Tutors used Microsoft teams to set assignments, grade work, and provide one-to-one support that helped students stay focused remain positive and maintain good mental health.

Q: Are there plans to introduce other technologies at Ackworth?

A: We'll continue to deliver a mix of blended learning. Teachers are using Apple Classroom to sync the children's iPads during lessons. They can freeze and monitor students’ screens to ensure they’re looking at lesson content, not signing in to social media.

The GarageBand app allows music students to access a wide range of unusual musical instruments. Our Year 5 and Year 6 students are using the app to play new instruments and perform together. It’s great for building their creativity and confidence.

Co-educational day and boarding school in Pontefract, West Yorkshire

Ackworth School was founded in 1779 and is a co-educational boarding and day school situated in the historic Yorkshire countryside. - Credit: Ackworth School

Q: How can students apply to Ackworth?

A: Open days are a great way to get a feel for what life at Ackworth School is like. We’re currently offering virtual open mornings or you can book a private tour of the school. We look forward to hosting our first face-to-face open morning in May 2021, should Covid-19 restrictions allow.

We’re committed to helping our students explore their identity, develop their strengths, achieve academic excellence and progress in their educational journey.

Ackworth School was founded in 1779 and is a co-educational boarding and day school situated in the historic Yorkshire countryside. Boarding starts from age 10, and students aged 4 to 16 can enrol at the junior or secondary school.

Visit ackworthschool.com to apply.

Call 01977 233621 or email admissions@ackworthschool.com.