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Tablets have transformed teaching, says Harlow College

Embracing digital technology has brought staff and students closer together, the college told delegates at Digifest

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Embracing digital technology has brought staff and students closer together, the college told delegates at Digifest

A decision to equip staff and students with iPads has helped transform the way that teaching is carried out at Harlow College in Essex, according to its deputy principal Louise Turner.

The move was prompted by repeated complaints by students unhappy with the IT facilities at the college, she said.

Speaking during a "What do students want?" session at ed tech conference Digifest 2018 yesterday, Ms Turner commented that bulk-buying iPads: “completely wiped out the complaints about IT”. She added: “We wanted to move away from the didactic teacher at the front delivery mode and engage our learners more in their learning”.

The introduction of “digital learning” addressed the desire of learners to get feedback on their progress, how they were doing and what they needed to do to improve. These issues very rarely come up as causes of concern now, according to Ms Turner.

Digifest talk

She told delegates at Digifest 2018, organised by not-for-profit company Jisc: “Our staff are interacting constantly with students both during a lesson and outside of the lesson. The traditional doing a piece of work, getting it submitted, getting it marked, waiting for the next lesson to get some feedback, all of that has gone”.

However, the move was met with some opposition within the college at first. Staff in the supported studies department, which helps students with additional learning needs and/or disabilities were “quite reluctant to begin with for their students to have iPads”.

Ms Turner added: “They didn’t quite know whether they would cope with them or how they would cope with them. In fact, it has revolutionised the way they work and the fact that the students can capture their learning in so many different ways and ways that suit their individual needs and wants is just really incredible”.

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