Technology is an integral part of education at Raffles World Academy (RWA). Digital technologies provide unique potential to transform our students’ learning experience by helping them collaborative learning environments.
Our school’s approach towards technology is that we see it as a tool that supports the learning process. As a school we still firmly believe in developing skills such as handwriting and bookwork, just as we believe in developing key 21st century skills such as communication and collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.
At RWA students have access to a wide range of school-provided technology including computer labs, iPad and laptop trolleys and other technology such as Bee Bots in our KG area. In addition to this we have 1:1 (iPad to student) and Bring Your Own Device approaches from Grade 2-12 in our school, where students are able to bring their own technology to school to support their learning.
We run our Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach from Grades 2 – 12 at RWA. With many of our students owning their own device and using these for their personal use, we have recognized the need to encourage students to utilize technology in a seamless fashion for their education. The BYOD approach helps to support our drive towards developing learning environments for our students which will develop the skills they need to be successful to live and work in the 21st century.
In our BYOD classes, as in all classrooms, we view technology as a tool in the classroom which can enhance and much more effectively personalize the learning experience. Technology at RWA is not seen as something which replaces all previous approaches. We still firmly believe in developing key skills such as handwriting and bookwork, just as we believe in developing key 21st century skills such as communication and collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.
For more information, please refer to Frequently Asked Questions below:
Before implementing the 1:1 (iPad) programme, this approach was carefully researched, with similar programmes taking place around the world. We also ran a pilot class in 2013-14, and then expanded the programme in 2014-15 to 9 classes in grades 3 - 5. Over the time it has been running at RWA we have surveyed our student and parent community regularly, with modifications being made to the programme based on this feedback.
As outlined above, a range of research was conducted prior to rolling out this programme. The iPad has been used across the world with great success in educational settings. The reasons for this include the long battery life, instant power on, flat profile, multimedia capabilities, ease of reading and annotating text, touch screen and robust app developer community. In deciding upon the specific device to use for this programme, a comparison was done between different platforms, with it being found that out of all of the apps on the draft app list, approximately 30-40% of the apps available in iTunes were available on other platforms.
The classes in 2015-16 will be made up of those students who nominated to be in a 1:1 class. Please bear in mind that this nomination does not mean automatic placement in one of these classes. As a school we are looking to expand this programme next year and will do our best to accommodate as many students as possible into these classes. However, we cannot assure every student that nominates an automatic spot in one of these classes. In terms of forming these classes, all of the regular RWA class placement procedures will apply in these classes, as they do in all of our classes (i.e. gender balance, etc.).
A full list of required apps will be provided to parent’s before the summer break. Each app will have a link included which will take you directly to the app store for easy downloading. Most apps are free of charge, with only a handful priced between 4dhs and 40dhs (in total the cost of the apps will not exceed 300dhs).
The minimum specifications for the device required will be provided to all parents before the summer break.
In our 1:1 classes, as in all classrooms, we view technology as a tool in the classroom which can enhance and much more effectively personalise the learning experience. Technology at RWA is not seen as something which replaces all previous approaches. We still firmly believe in developing key skills such as handwriting and bookwork, just as we believe in developing 21st century skills such as communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.
Students in our 1:1 classes will follow the same curriculum as all other classes in their grade. What may be different between the classes is how they do certain tasks, as well as the types of resources they have available to them in class. In the 1:1 classes there will be a balance between the use of the iPads and work in books (i.e. not every part of these classes will be conducted on the device). These devices are an excellent learning tool and will be used where they add value to the learning experience.
It is difficult to give a specific amount of time, as each class is slightly different. However, it should be noted that when planning their lessons, teachers consider issues such as managing screen time, ensuring their students are not on devices for too long consecutively (or in one day). As an ‘on average figure’, the iPads may be used between 2 – 4 lessons in a day. However, it is important to note that in these lessons, the students will not be on their device all of the time (i.e. much of the work may involve them working in a book and using the iPad to get information, share their work with classmates, etc.).
While on the RWA campus, the iPads will be protected behind our firewall, with the filter system will keep students from accessing inappropriate or blocked web sites. We do not recommend purchasing the 3G/4G enabled iPads as you will be enabling your child to have connectivity via a cell phone plan, which will allow them to bypass the campus network, firewall and web site filters. If your child brings a 3G/4G enabled iPad to school, we will require that this is turned off and that only the WIFI is used while on campus.
RWA strongly recommends that the built-in device tracking is activated so you can track the unit through your iTunes account. Also, students will require a protective case (this should be something which can be easily identified). While at school devices are stored safely in a locked classroom (when there is no teacher in the room) and students are not allowed to take their device out with them at break times.
Classroom teachers will receive ongoing training and support from the Head of Digital Learning in ensuring the devices are being effectively to enhance teaching and learning in the classroom. Also, where necessary, the teachers (and students) will be supported by the RWA IT staff. The students will receive ongoing support and training from their teacher in order to ensure that they are fully utilizing their device in the classroom.
As with any rules, clear and patient communication between you and your child towards setting boundaries and maintaining good study skills are always recommended. The iPad will not change your communication, but will offer the opportunity of a new discussion towards responsibility and growth. RWA encourages parents to remain up-to-date on current device technology and to utilize parental control options on their child's iPad to lock certain functions, if necessary. While we are looking to utilize the potential of technology to enhance our classrooms at the school, we also believe in, and support, healthy attitudes towards the use of technology by our students.