Digitising the learning experience with 10,000+ iPads
Scottish Borders Council
Melrose, United Kingdom
Developing digital skills to inspire learning
Scottish Borders Council launched the Inspire Learning Project in 2018, with the aim to refresh the education curriculum and make a difference to all young people’s lives. In a region where geographical poverty has had a major impact on the education system, the Inspire Learning team wanted to provide opportunity and hope to students to encourage them to find new ways to create and innovate through digitised learning.
The Inspire Learning team invested in technology to meet part of the project’s goal to develop student’s digital skills and align with their four objectives.
Choosing the right education technology
“When we started this project, we had four key pillars: mobility, personalisation, collaboration and excellence,” said Andrew Jewell, education lead for the Inspire Learning Project. “Choosing which device to incorporate into this program was a very important decision because whatever solution was deployed, had to link to our four pillars.”
Creativity also played a key role in the purchase decision-making process for devices. “We wanted creativity to be at the heart of the learning process because it’s very closely aligned with the curriculum we follow,” continued Jewell.
World-renowned for its creativity and innovation, Apple’s iPad were selected because these devices are extremely portable and their screen size, unrivalled haptics, and accessible App Store makes it incredibly easy to collaborate and design.
Creating a positive experience
Ensuring that the user experience was personalised and up to the highest standards was vital. Scottish Borders Council enlisted the expertise of Apple mobile device management provider, Jamf, to help preserve the well-known ‘Apple experience’ for users, while making the deployment and enrolment process efficient and seamless.
For these students, part of the overall appeal in learning with technology is in unboxing their own iPad. The Inspire Learning Project wanted to capture this excitement without the fuss of then having to manually configure each device. Jamf provisioned the devices over-the-air, in advance, so each device was ready to use straight out of the box — often referred to as zero-touch device enrolment.
Creating a learning pathway with Apple device management
The Inspire Learning team wanted to put technology at the heart of the project and ensure students had the best experience to succeed. This meant a management platform was required so that the teachers and students could collaborate and create from anywhere. As the standard in Apple device and app management, Jamf understood the need and technical know-how to provide each user with a unique experience and support in alignment of the team’s four objectives.
Many of the students live around the Scottish Borders and not necessarily near one another or their teachers. Having Jamf-managed iPads made it easy for students to remain connected and learn together, wherever they were located. Applications were automatically assigned based on the student’s school and year group.
For teachers, the accessibility options provided capabilities to remotely lock all devices or restrict websites, applications and even the camera, to ensure students are using their iPads for learning purposes. As a result, students could receive a seamless experience while learning remotely as many of the apps could be rolled out over the air and be used whilst offline and when they needed to — safely and securely.
In order to fully embrace the technology, it needs to feel personal. By using Jamf Pro, students have the ability to personalise the applications they use or request additional using Jamf Self Service, an on-demand app portal. This was especially vital for students with learning challenges where the Inspire Learning team could customise and personalise user interfaces and apps to address their individual needs.
Jamf Pro’s Smart Group feature provides teachers with the visibility and access to assign students to groups, based on a set of criteria. For example, if students are available in an active directory group, the teacher can see what group they are a part of and make certain applications available to them via Self Service.
Through this solution, the Inspire Learning team implemented a blended learning approach, where students enjoyed the benefits of different environments – whether that was a virtual classroom, 1-to-1 or group setting. Teachers can now organise specific peer-to-peer learning groups or focus in on a specific challenge, through the click of a few buttons.
As the Inspire Learning Project is part of the Scottish Borders Council, every investment needs to be managed, monitored and validated to meet the standards of the local government. Reporting and monitoring engagement was crucial for the team to know if students were having the best experience and using the iPads efficiently. Through Jamf Pro, the Inspire Learning team has one holistic view of all devices to ensure the timely roll out of apps, patch updates and software to maintain a high-level of engagement.
Scaling the Inspire Learning Project
As Jamf enabled the Inspire Learning Project to scale while maintaining high levels of engagement, the user experience has remained positive and students are keen to continue their digitised learning across the Scottish Borders.
Jewell says, “There’s a whole world of potential using Apple products, it’s made a big difference to the quality of the program and has no doubt brought learning to life with the use of technology.”
Jamf Pro now supports nine high schools within the Scottish Borders region – scaling and deploying more than 10,000 iPads for both students and teachers.