Homework? We’ve got an app for that!

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Pupils at Echt Primary School are the first in Aberdeenshire to iPads to help set and record homework and connect beyond the classroom.

Every child, from P1 to P7, has their own iPad Mini which they take home each afternoon and bring back to school the following morning.

Homework is assigned using an app called Showbie which allows staff, pupils and parents to share work seamlessly.

P5 Kaylee Mitchell, 9, said: “It’s easier to get your homework in Showbie.”

The school is currently part of a pilot scheme called ‘Reporting to Parents’ which provides opportunities for parents/carers to be involved in the on-going process of reporting throughout the school year.

Pupils and teachers are using a Book Creator app to report on various aspects of learning in the school.

P5 Morven Findlay, 8, said: “You can video what you’re doing in P.E. or Music or anything and show your parents.”

P2 Darroch Ferries, 5, said: “You can do games which help you learn like Sumdog and Toc and Roll for learning notes in music.”

Head teacher Ruth MacDonald said: “Using ICT to enhance learning and teaching across the curriculum, the devices are used indoors and out, presenting the children with real life contexts for learning.

“I’m grateful for support from Jim McLean the council’s learning through technologies development officer and his team who helped deploy the iPads and spoke to parents about using technology in schools too.

“The iPads allow pupils to share what they are learning and how they are learning with their parents who can also post comments on their child’s ‘report’ as and when they wish to do so. It’s real learning in real time!”

P6 and P7 pupils have also set up an enterprise called BiTE – Beginners iPad.

Training Echt and have created an iPad training course for people in the local community where the pupils will become the teachers. The Book Creator app will be used to present the training course which the pupils intend to publish as an iBook and offer to other schools in Aberdeenshire.

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education, Learning and Leisure Committee Councillor Isobel Davidson said: “This project makes education more meaningful and provides instant information for teachers, pupils, parents and carers. It is inspiring to see the older pupils sharing their technical skills too.”

Vice chair Councillor Ron McKail added: “This project brings new life to school reports and the way pupils learn. “In terms of engagement, it is instant and so much more involving than a piece of paper, but also it is about bringing technology beyond the classroom and letting young people shape the way they learn.

“It is wonderful that they are to become the teachers and the adults will be the pupils too through the BiTE project, I offer my app-lause.”