Schools receive grants to test if iPads and texting can improve results

Education Endowment Foundation and Nominet Trust announce £3.5m grant to test impact of technology on 18,000 pupils.

Schools are set to test the impact of technologies, such as iPads and texting, on pupil attainment after the Education Endowment Foundation and Nominet Trust announced seven programmes for disadvantaged pupils and a £3.5 million grant.

18,000 pupils in 260 schools across England are set to benefit from the funding, testing a variety of ways to use technology in learning.

The funding will be divided as follows. Rosendale Primary School in Lambeth, South London has been awarded £253,000 to test the benefits of iPads on learning skills. In total 1,400 pupils in schools in London, Essex and Manchester will monitor the use of tablets whilst pupils learn with photographs, written records and audio recordings.

Shireland Collegiate Academy in the West Midlands has received a grant of £559,000 to test the “flipped learning” approach. This approach introduces concepts to the pupils online before the lesson to use class time for extra teacher support in areas that require further learning. Focus will be on teaching Maths to year 5 and 6 pupils and will involve a total of 24 schools in Birmingham and Black County.

In addition Harvard and Bristol University have been awarded a grant of £532,000 to test the benefits of using text messages to parents. 34 schools will use text to involve parents in their child’s education through providing information about homework, behavior and upcoming tests.

Peter Lampl, chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation and of the Sutton Trust, said: “Schools spend huge sums on money every year on technology, but there is too little evidence on new technology like iPads.

The gap in educational outcomes between rich and poor is the biggest barrier to social mobility we face and it is essential to find out if and how technology can be used to help close it.”

Dan Sutch, head of development research at Nominet Trust, said: “The more we can understand where technology best supports learning and teaching the better.

“We’re really excited to be able to support these projects and to develop a deeper understanding of where well designed, and well used digital technologies can enhance learners’ attainment and experiences.”

The grant will also benefit Coventry University which will test a free internet based reading programme with pupils aged 4-6 in 60 schools based in Coventry, Warwickshire and Solihull.

Ai Media, Melbourne University and Nesta will test the impact of a system it devised to provide teachers with a transcript of lessons to improve teaching practices.

Nesta and Know Maths will also examine the impact of low-cost online one-to-one tuition on the academic achievement of pupils in year 6.

Edge Hill University will investigate the impact of using hand held devices to enable instant feedback between teachers and pupils in years 5 and 6.

Dr Kevan Collins, chief executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, added: “To narrow the gap and avoid wasting resources teachers need to have access to high quality information. These exciting grants will help identify the most effective ways to use digital technology to improve learning for the most disadvantaged pupils in our schools.”

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