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Handheld Learning Pilot
              September ‘08 to July ‘09

Wilbury Junior School
               Letchworth Garden City

 Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot

             Wilbury Junior School

                         2008 / 2009

        Key Findings                                     Page 3

        Introduction                                     Page 4

        Planning                                         Page 5

        The PDAs in Use                                  Page 9

        Impact                                           Page 14

        Conclusions                                      Page 20

        Appendices                                       Page 23

 Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
                              Part 1: Key Findings

This pilot is seen as a success, though many challenges arose throughout the pilot year
which have been described in this report, and will need to be considered by any school
considering the implementation of one-to-one devices. The key findings of the pilot can
be summarised as:

   •   The children were very motivated to learn by the use of the personal device, and
       this motivation did not wear off after the initial novelty had worn off.

   •   The amount of use that the children get from the device is initially very dependent
       on the teacher. Where the teacher encouraged the children to use the tools more,
       and integrated use into their lessons more frequently, so the children tended to use
       the device more in their own time, and the overall positive impact was increased.

   •   Initially, children who took the device home gained confidence and skills in its
       use more quickly than those who did not. However, this evened out as the pilot

   •   Many children did additional work in their own time, which was not set by their

   •   Despite being comfortable in using the device from the start, the key skills needed
       by children to use it effectively must be taught, and refreshed regularly.

   •   The children became more independent in their learning as they developed the
       skills to choose the right tool for the activity they were completing.

   •   Having a range of digital tools available meant that the needs of the individual
       pupils’ learning styles could be better met.

   •   The personality and preferences of each individual child is significant in
       determining how much they benefited from having a personal device.

   •   There was a noticeable improvement in some of the Qualifications and
       Curriculum Authority Writing Assessment Focuses, in the sample children
       identified for the pilot.

   •   Managing so many devices is challenging and requires continual and significant
       levels of technical and administrative support if learning is not to be interrupted.

       Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
                              Part 2: Introduction
A number of projects and pilots in different authorities around the country have clearly
shown the positive impact of using handheld technologies on teaching and learning. Pupil
confidence, concentration and results have been shown to improve. Many leading figures
in education technology predict that handheld or mobile devices can and will play a big
part in teaching and learning, as the shift is moving away from fixed PCs towards mobile
learning, both in and out of the classroom.

It was decided in the autumn of 2007 that the Hertfordshire ICT Team should research
the use of these technologies, led by eDevelopments Adviser, Chris Carter. A pilot in a
primary school would be run so that the team could gain the necessary insight and
experience in this area to be able to advise and inform other schools, and the Local

The pilot stage would run for one academic year, from September 2008, and involve year
6 children.


    •   To introduce handheld technologies into the identified Primary School.
    •   To assess whether the use of handheld technologies raises pupil achievement,
        motivation and independence during year 6.
    •   To identify whether some specific learning outcomes are achieved and standards
        raised through the use of handheld technologies.
    •   To create a centre of knowledge in Hertfordshire regarding the use of Handheld
        Learning in primary education.
    •   To provide Hertfordshire schools with information regarding the viability and
        benefits / drawbacks of using handheld technologies, drawn from first hand

School Selection Criteria

Schools were invited to apply to run the pilot, and selection was based on the following
• School prepared to make considerable commitment to project.
• School has a strong vision of how handheld learning could benefit their teaching and
• Some experience of handheld learning &/or its issues would be an advantage.
• Ability of schools to match the funding from Hertfordshire Local Authority.
• A strong established link between the chosen primary school and a secondary school.
• School prepared to welcome visits from others interested in handheld learning, and
    relevant staff prepared to speak at conferences and information sessions.

Pilot Success Criteria

•   The handheld devices are embedded into practice in the project school and used
    confidently and regularly by identified staff and pupils.
•   The Local Authority is informed and in a position to lead and guide on the use of
    handheld technologies.

        Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
•   Useful data is collected and published, whether it shows a positive impact from the
    use of the technology or not.

The School

The successful school, Wilbury Junior, is in Letchworth Garden City. It is
a mixed all ability school of approximately 310 children aged 7 – 11.
There were 68 children in the year group which piloted the use of the
handheld technology, arranged in three classes. Within the school the
project was led by Headteacher; Jim Kerr, and ICT Subject Leader;
Amanda Burrett. However, Jim Kerr left the school at Easter 2009 after the
second term of the pilot.

                                   Part 3: Planning
In order for the pilot to be a success the following key factors needed to be considered:

The ownership model:
Whether the child would take 24/7 ‘ownership’ of the device; other pilots around the UK
have identified that the benefits of using handheld devices are increased if the child
‘owns’ the device and is able to use it at home as well as in school. It was therefore
decided that this model should be adopted for the pilot.

The main funding for the pilot came from Hertfordshire Local Authority and Wilbury
Junior School. Additional funding came from Fearnhill School, the main Secondary
school that Wilbury feeds. Wilbury Junior School also worked with the eLearning
Foundation, a charitable organisation that aims to reduce the effect of the digital divide
by working to ensure all children have access to the learning resources that technology
can make available.

Wireless Infrastructure:
In order for the devices to be able to access the internet and network within the school a
robust and extensive wifi network would need to be in place. The school already had in
place a better than average wifi network with a number of industry level wireless access
points around the school. A professional wireless survey was undertaken to check this
was adequate and it was identified that the wifi network would need to be extended with
the addition of further access points so that network / internet access would be possible
throughout the school, and robust enough to cope with a large number of devices
connecting at once.

Learning Outcomes:
A specific learning outcome needed to be identified in order to be able to accurately
assess whether achievements had been raised by the use of the technology. The
Headteacher identified literacy as the area that would benefit most from the additional
attention and hoped-for benefits that would come through the use of the technology. A
Primary Strategy Consultant for Literacy worked with the school to plan the integration
of the handheld devices into the teaching of literacy at year 6, as well as the tracking and
measuring of the impact from using the devices.

       Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
The Device:
Selecting the device for use in the pilot was a difficult task for the reason
that there are many possibilities, with the choice available changing all
the time as new devices appear and other devices become discontinued.
There is also no ‘perfect’ device, with each type available having its own
pros and cons.

Therefore some criteria were laid down for choosing the most
appropriate device for meeting the aims of the pilot, which were as             HP iPaq 214

   1. It had to be very portable.
   2. It needed a high quality screen / resolution, and a screen large enough for reading
       ebooks comfortably, as well as using the curriculum software effectively.
   3. It needed wifi connectivity, but G3 / GPRS / HSDPA capability (ie connection via
       the mobile phone network) was not necessary.
   4. It had to have a long battery life to get through a school day without the need for
   5. It would ideally have a camera.
   6. It would have a touch screen.
   7. It would have a voice recorder.
   8. It would have an operating system that would run the most popular curriculum
       titles available for mobile devices.
   9. It would have expandable memory via memory card.
   10. It would fit within the budget.

After evaluating several devices with this in mind it was decided that a Windows Mobile
PDA device would fit the school’s needs best. It was necessary to make a compromise
with the camera as PDAs / Smartphones with this included were over the budget.

The Hewlett Packard iPaq 214 selected runs Windows Mobile 6 and has one of the
largest PDA VGA (640 x 480) screens that could be found on a device fitting the other
criteria. This was felt particularly important as, with the Literacy focus, eBooks would be
used extensively, and these are easier to read on a larger, clearer screen.

The devices were purchased through Hertfordshire Business Services, with additional
PDAs being purchased to use in the event of breakages/loss.

The Software:
Any device with the Windows Mobile 6 operating system comes with a selection of built-
in software applications, which includes:
     • Word, Excel and Powerpoint Mobile versions.
     • Tasks, Calendar, Notepad, Alarm Clock, Calculator.
     • A mobile version of Internet Explorer.
     • Handwriting recognition.
     • Voice Recorder.
     • A mobile version of Windows Media Player for sound and video playback.

As with the device selection, in order to select the additional software to be used during
the pilot the school looked for programs which would offer:

       Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
   Management Software:
   1. Classroom management so the teacher could see what each PDA is doing and
      display each screen on the whiteboard.
   2. Backup of the pupils work to a remote location.
   3. A means of distributing files from the teacher to each pupil device, and from pupil
      devices to the teacher.
   4. Cloning software so that a device ‘image’ could be copied to every PDA before
      commencement of the pilot.

   Curriculum Software:
   1. A program(s) that will enable the pupils to read and create ebooks, to support the
      literacy focus of the pilot.
   2. An extensive selection of ebooks.
   3. Software for creating multimedia presentations.
   4. Dedicated KS2 maths software.
   5. A graphics program to create drawings and manipulate digital images.

As a result of this, the following programs were either purchased, or given to the school
on an evaluation basis for the duration of the pilot.

   •   The Red Halo suite of programs. These have been used extensively in many of the
       handheld pilots across the UK, and covered many of the management and
       curriculum software requirements including backup, file distribution and
   •   i-Stars ebooks. These are graded readers in a format that can be read
       by the free Microsoft Reader program.
   •   SUMS Online. This is a well regarded collection of maths ‘games’
       used to practice key Mathematics skills in an engaging way.
   •   The Big Bus. This KS1 and KS2 content includes numerous
       multimedia activities that cover Maths, Science, Literacy and other
       curriculum areas.                                                            SUMS Online

   •   Synchroneyes. This is a classroom network management solution that enables the
       teacher to monitor all the PDAs, distribute files and display the individual PDA
       screens on the whiteboard.
   •   Softmaker Mobile Office suite. An Office suite of programs offering more
       flexibility and functionality than the included versions of Word, Excel and

   Other Software:
   To fully utilise the potential of the PDAs the school also installed these free

   •   Microsoft Reader. This is an ebook reader that enables the user not
       only to read electronic books but also to annotate, highlight words,
       look up the meaning of words and illustrate the book.
   •   Microsoft Reader add-on for Microsoft Word. This is the ebook
       creation software which works within the desktop computer version
       of Word, and enables the user to create ebooks for distribution to
   •   Adobe Acrobat Reader. For reading PDF files.                                   eBooks
   •   SinPocket Stopwatch. This is a simple stopwatch / timer program.
       Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
Parents Evening:

A parents evening was held during the Summer Term 2008 to provide information about
the background to handheld/mobile learning and what we hoped to achieve during the
pilot, and to give parents/carers the opportunity to ask any questions they may have. This
was attended by representatives from Wilbury Junior School, Fearnhill School, The
eLearning Foundation and the Local Authority. A local Police Community Support
Officer also attended to talk about safety and security. Several short presentations were
given and the chosen device was demonstrated.

Two particular safety issues were raised during planning.

eSafety: All children need to be taught the risks associated with the online world, and
through the use of a personal learning device their potential access to the internet
increases. The school therefore planned a half-day eSafety Session for the year group
with two Local Authority Advisers. In addition to this an eSafety project was planned for
the early stages of the pilot, to raise the profile of these issues with the pupils, which
would both cover the risks as well as utilise the new technology and software. Parents
were also invited to an eSafety evening in September 2008, with a talk from a Local
Authority Adviser about the risks and how to manage them.

Carrying the device: In order to minimise the risk to children carrying an expensive
device, the acceptable use contract stated that the child should only carry the device to
and from school, and it should not be carried around otherwise. The local police force
was informed of the project, and they ran a session with the children at the start of the
pilot to teach the measures necessary to reduce the risks. They also advised on security
tagging the devices.

Risk Assessments were completed and an Acceptable Use Agreement was drawn up by
the school in collaboration with the Local Authority and in consultation with the
Hertfordshire Multi-Agency eSafety Panel, Hertfordshire Constabulary and Hertfordshire
County Council solicitors. This was to be signed by a parent/carer of each child.
Parents/Carers were able to opt in or out of their child taking the PDA home. A separate
pupil’s Acceptable Use Agreement was drawn up for the children to sign (see Appendix

The children were also taught about the laws of copyright and the distribution of files
such as MP3s (music files.)

Technical Support:
Minimal technical support was provided by Chris Carter from Hertfordshire Local
Authority, as part of his regular visits to the school to track the progress of the pilot.

During the planning period the school received some training from a Local Authority
Adviser in web-based technologies that would be associated with the project. The ICT
Subject Leader also provided PDA training to the colleagues involved. In addition to this,
software provider Red Halo ran a training day focusing on the suite of software they
provide. This was mainly aimed at the pupils. One of the teachers involved attended the
Handheld Learning Conference in October 2008.
       Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
Device Preparation:
Before the PDAs could be rolled out to the pupils they needed to be prepared. This
   • Installing the software.
   • Setting up each device to go onto the school’s wifi network.
   • Adjusting certain system settings.

In order to keep costs within the budget, it was decided that
rather than pay for device preparation, this would be carried
out in school using cloning software. A single device was set
up as desired, and from this an ‘image’ was taken using software called SPB Clone. Each
PDA was then cloned from this image. This process took approximately 4 minutes per
PDA, so resulting in a few hours work but a significant financial saving.

                              Part 4: the PDAs in use

Initial rollout to pupils
For the first fortnight of the Autumn Term 2008 the devices were kept in school and used
on a hand-out / take-in basis. Familiarisation activities took place with the PDAs, for
example using the SUMS Online software, reading eBooks and making simple voice
recordings. The children also needed to become familiar with accessing the school’s
wireless network, synchronising their devices with Red Halo and connecting their devices
to the Synchroneyes classroom management program.

Following the signing of the Acceptable Use Agreements, children whose parents/carers
had agreed, were able to take the PDAs home (88% of the pupils.) It then became their
responsibility to charge the device ready for daily use, and to make sure it was brought to
school every day. Those children who didn’t take the PDA home charged it in class when
not in use.

The children were allowed to personalise their PDAs to encourage the feeling that it was
their own personal learning device. They were able to change the home screen
background to an image of their choosing, add owner information and password the

       Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
Examples of use

Phatpad: Easily the most popular and successful program used
on the PDAs throughout the pilot year was Phatpad (62% of the
pupils said it was their favourite use of the PDA.) This program
allows the user to write or draw directly onto the screen, as if it
were a notebook. The user can animate their work, either by
recording the movement of the ‘pen’ as it writes or draws, or by
flicking between different pages in the ‘notebook’ rather like a
flipbook. You can also record your voice and use this as part of
an animation. After the children became familiar with how to
use the program, they were able to think about how it may help
them in different subject areas. It was the children’s idea to use
Phatpad in Maths to record how they have worked out a sum.
The working-out of the sum is recorded on-screen as the pupil writes, and this can then
be saved and played back to demonstrate the procedure that was carried out in order to
find the answer. They also used Phatpad in Maths to make presentations, for example on
the binary number system.

The ability to animate on the PDA with Phatpad was particularly useful in Science, to
illustrate processes in a creative and engaging way. For example, the children made some
excellent animations to demonstrate the water cycle, and the process of melting and
resetting (reversible changes.) This helped the children to learn and demonstrate their
understanding in an alternative way to writing

 Part of an animation on the Water Cycle, made in Phatpad, which included a
 recorded description to accompany the illustrations.

                             Phatpad was used in many subject areas, including MFL
                             where the functionality, especially the voice recorder, lent
                             itself well to illustrating and reading stories in French. The
                             children were able to play back recordings of themselves
                             speaking French, listen to and work on improving their
                             pronunciation, and then record themselves again to
                             compare and see how they had improved. The note taking
                             function of Phatpad was used in French and Literacy for
                             keeping vocabulary books.

                                        “..we use it a lot in French for recording and drawing,
                                        in ICT for making animations, maths for notes and
                                        showing the process of a sum and in science for
                                        showing life processes and much more.”
                                         (Wilbury pupil comment)
       Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
Sums Online: This collection of maths games was
also very popular. It gave the children a way to
practice key maths skills in a form that they enjoyed
and wanted to use. Mainly used as a plenary activity,
reward activity or by the children in their own time, it
proved to be useful particularly for those struggling
with Maths. Just over 9% of the children surveyed said that SUMS Online was their favourite
activity on the PDA.

 “SUMS online offers great opportunities to engage especially lower achieving pupils in
 their learning. I use the games for plenaries on a regular basis or as a treat for good
 work and the children respond fantastically.” (Wilbury teacher comment)

 “I really like SUMS online because it is fun and really helps me with my learning.”
 (Wilbury pupil comment)

Voice Recorder: The built-in voice recording function of the PDA was also something
which worked well in different subject areas. Pupils were able to quickly and easily
record voice notes, which could be played back on the PDA or other device if copied
over. The voice recorder supported higher ability pupils for drama and role play, and
lower ability children as an alternative to writing. For example one child planned and
recorded a whole story, developing his compositional skills, when he would not have
attempted this on paper.

 “The children particularly enjoy using the voice recorder. This has been really useful in
 many different areas, including explaining their thoughts during a maths investigation,
 recording adverts and news reports in Literacy, and describing the planes seen on a
 trip to the RAF Museum in Hendon. It is especially useful for children who find it difficult
 to explain themselves in writing, enabling them to collaborate more effectively with their
 peers during planning stages of work.” (Wilbury teacher comment)

                    eBooks: An ebook (in .lit format within Microsoft Reader) allows the
                    user to not only read a book on the PDA, but also to highlight words,
                    add diagrams or annotations to books, add ‘digital bookmarks’ to
                    pages and look up the meaning of a word directly from within the
                    ‘book.’ It therefore makes the whole reading experience more
                    interactive, and the children were very motivated to read in this way.
                    A large selection of graded readers from iStars were kindly provided
                    for the pilot, which the children enjoyed. The teachers also made
                    extensive use of the freely available classics that have been converted
to ebook formats and published online, as they are now out of copyright. As the pupils
were motivated to read in this way, there were a number of instances of children reading
books at a higher level than they would otherwise have attempted, and books of a style
that might otherwise not have interested them. The ability to look up words immediately,
from within the ‘book’ meant that they were able to persevere with harder texts.
Examples are Little Women, the Wizard of Oz and Treasure Island, all of which were
really enjoyed by a number of pupils. One child with dyslexic tendencies has found
ebooks very motivational and this has encouraged him to read where he would otherwise
be reluctant.
       Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
 “If I saw it as a normal book, then I wouldn’t want to read it. But because it’s on my
 PDA it’s much more fun to read it.” (Wilbury Pupil Comment, referring to Little

Synchroneyes: This is a classroom management application that allows the teacher to
monitor each PDA in the classroom, and to send out and take in work. Using the schools
WIFI network, the screens of each PDA can be displayed on the whiteboard, individual
screens used as examples of work etc, and the teacher can lock all the PDAs from his/her
main computer. Synchroneyes also has a quiz making/delivering function and a voting
tool. At Wilbury it was also used for file distribution and collection. The teacher would
leave the program running on her laptop computer and request that pupils send in work
they had created on their PDAs. The ability to display the children’s screens on the
whiteboard supported immediate feedback in the classroom. In Literacy, for example,
the children would write sentences, which could be immediately displayed on the board,
several at a time, for peer assessment and teacher analysis. This proved to be more useful
than, for example, the use of a visualiser, because it was so instant. This also gave the
teacher more control during a lesson as she could easily monitor any PDA work the
pupils were doing, make regular ongoing assessments, and promote the sharing of and
redrafting of work.

Use of the Internet: The PDAs were set up to connect to the internet through the HGfL
when in school, and those children whose parents/carers allowed it and had the facilities
to do so, were able to use the device to access the internet at home via their home Internet
Service Provider (ISP.) The internet ‘experience’ on the PDA is quite different to that on
a PC, and as most websites are designed for larger screens, they do not display
particularly well on mobile devices (there is currently a big shift towards making
websites display better on handheld devices as more and more people have internet
access from their mobile phones.) It was therefore found that internet research on the
PDA could be slow and sometimes frustrating, and was therefore not used particularly
often. The children did use the PDAs to read and contribute to the Year 6 ‘blog,’ which is
described later in this report. Activities involving the internet outside the classroom were
never set as not every child would have access. Of the parents that responded to the
survey, 15% said their child DID use the internet on the PDA at home (see appendix A.)

                       Other Examples: The programs above were the ones that were
                       used most and had the biggest impact across the pilot year. Other
                       programs that were used successfully included the Big Bus suite
                       of programs, particularly the science games. These were mainly
                       used by the pupils in their own time,
                       although there was some limited use during
                       science lessons in one class. Children used
                       the Calculator when applicable, and some
                       used the Calendar and reminders to
                       organise themselves. The SinPocket
Stopwatch proved to be useful in PE and science, and the simple
Notes program was used frequently for note taking and voice
recording. However, despite the presence of the mobile office
software on the PDAs, it was Phatpad that was used most for
writing and recording.
The Main Challenges

As could be expected, the first term in particular was affected by a number of challenges,
      Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
which schools should be aware of when considering any similar project. The majority of
difficulties experienced across the whole pilot year were based around device
management and technical issues.

Device Skills: At first, both the children and teachers lacked the device skills necessary to
use the PDAs confidently. The children had particular difficulty in getting their PDAs
connected to the internet. This was not due to actual problems with the network, or the
devices, but rather a lack of knowledge of how to diagnose why they couldn’t connect.
The reasons were usually simple, but the pupils didn’t know how to find them. Therefore
hands went up and the teachers were burdened with trying to sort out these issues when
they should have been teaching. Posters with the wifi settings were put up in the
classrooms and the process of getting the PDAs connected was soon learned. It was
necessary for the children to be taught how to use specific programs on the PDAs. They
did not, as is often implied, immediately pick up the device and know how to use it.
Therefore PDA skills were included in ICT lessons, and needed to be repeated as the
children would quickly lose the skills if they didn’t use them all the time. Interestingly,
by the end of the pilot the children on the whole seemed to have forgotten the difficulties
they had in using the PDAs at the beginning of the year, and seemed to recall that they
had instantly known how to use them.

Technical: Through no fault of the children, a number of devices developed trouble with
the screens and therefore had to be sent off for repair. With a number of PDAs going out
to, and coming back from repair it was quite a challenge to keep on top of whose PDA
was whose etc, especially as loan devices were used whilst repairs were being carried out.
There was also some difficulty in accessing the Red Halo back-up servers, used for
backing up the children’s work remotely, as the Hertfordshire Grid proxy settings
prevented the PDAs from connecting to the remote servers, so an alternative proxy had to
be set up on all the devices, which meant changing the settings on every PDA. Even then,
the synchronisation process between the PDA and the remote server could take a long
time, especially if there were large files on the devices.

Unlike PCs, it is very difficult to ‘lock down’ the settings on the PDAs. Therefore it was
easy for the children to change settings. Considerable time had to be put into keeping
track of the PDAs and replacing settings when they had been changed – particularly
internet settings as some children used the PDAs for the Internet at home, if their
parents/carers allowed this, which sometimes led to the school settings being lost.

In the children’s survey, when asked what the worst thing about the PDAs was, the
majority of answers were around the technical problems.

File Management: It was time consuming for the teachers to organise all the children’s
electronic work which has been submitted from the PDAs to the teachers’ computers via
Synchroneyes. It was also sometimes difficult for teachers to track down a specific piece
of electronic work as an organised naming convention for files was not used. Submitted
files are automatically given with the name of the device which sent it. In personalising
the devices the children had often used a nickname or suchlike to name their devices, so
it was sometimes difficult for the teacher to know who had sent the file. We also found
the children lacked discipline in keeping their files organised and deleting files they did
not need. By the end of the year most children had hundreds of files in their “My
Documents” folder, the majority of which were actually not needed and named in such a
way that the user didn’t know what the file actually was.

Software Distribution: The applications which made up the Red Halo suite of software
      Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
were designed to be downloaded and installed to the devices when the children first log
in to back up (synchronise) the files on the PDA. However, as the software downloads
could take a long time, children would often cancel it, sometimes unknowingly, meaning
the software would not be installed. We therefore, during the first term, had a situation
where only half the class might have the program intended for use in a particular lesson,
and we had to arrange these to be downloaded and installed again.

Pedagogy: This being a pilot, use of one-to-one devices in the classroom was new to
everyone involved, and it was a steep learning curve for the teachers to be able to
effectively embed the use of the PDAs into daily classroom practice. As the first term
progressed it became clearer which uses and programs worked best, as described above,
and therefore it became easier to plan further implementation of the PDAs, and for the
children to take on new tasks using their devices.

Key Staff: There is no doubt that a higher level of technical support would have made the
pilot run more smoothly. The teachers developed exceptional skills in troubleshooting,
but really they should not have had to do this, as it would get in the way of teaching.
Also, the loss of the Headteacher at the end of the second term meant more
administration / device management work for the teachers during the final term, as he did
much of this work. His leadership of the pilot within the school was missed, but as the
devices were well integrated by then, there was no significant impact on their use
following his departure. Greater support from the Local Authority was offered during the
third term to help with the management and troubleshooting of the devices.

                                    Part 5: Impact

 “Using the PDA really inspires me to learn more.” (Wilbury Pupil Comment)

Summary: It has been difficult to measure impact quantitatively because it is felt that the
main positive impact has been on motivation and engagement. Through observation the
teachers feel that in many subject areas the use of the PDAs have had a real and major
impact on attainment and motivation because they gave the children alternative ways of
working, which encompassed more children in terms of their different learning styles. We
can summarise that the main impacts were:
    • Children gained greater independence in their learning through developing the
       skills to make informed decisions over the different learning tools at their
    • Inclusion was improved because the children had a greater set of learning tools at
       their disposal which better met their different learning styles and needs.
    • Children of middle and lower ability were more engaged in their learning across
       the whole of the year than the teachers would normally expect.
    • Regular note taking, mind-mapping, and planning on the PDAs resulted in
       improved ability in the children to organise their thoughts.
    • Some children have accessed harder reading texts than they might otherwise have.
    • Thinking skills were developed. The children were able to explain things better
       and show improved reasoning. They became increasingly articulate about PDA
       use and how it affected their learning.
    • Research skills have improved.
    • The children’s knowledge of general ICT has improved.

       Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
   •   The teachers were able to encourage more peer assessment through having the
       tools to instantly display children’s work on the whiteboard.
   •   There was an increase in speaking/listening/drama/role-play activities in class.
   •   Speaking and listening skills have improved.
   •   The children have shown a greater ability to face challenges and persevere in
       finding solutions.
   •   A large majority of pupils felt they enjoyed school more because of the PDA use.
   •   A large majority of pupils indicated that they found it easier to learn when using
       the PDA.
   •   The majority of teachers, pupils, and their parents/carers feel that the children
       learned more over the year through their use of the PDAs.

Pupil motivation (See Appendix A for questionnaire results)
It was no surprise that the children were hugely motivated by having access to their
PDAs. However, what was perhaps surprising was that their enthusiasm did not seem to
wane much during the year. It was predicted that there would be an initial novelty factor
to using the PDAs, but this would wear off after a few weeks. Certainly the initial
excitement ceased, but rather than being replaced by indifference, it was replaced with a
growing maturity about how the device could be used to help learning. Rather than using
the device for the sake of using it, the pupils developed the skills to make informed
decisions about when to use it, and when other resources would be more suited to the task
in hand. As a result the use of the PDAs became far more effective.

 “The vast majority were keen and motivated to work on PDAs, and they became
 more independent over the year which was a general positive impact.”
 (Wilbury teacher Comment)

81% of the children said they always enjoyed using the PDAs with the remainder saying
they sometimes enjoyed it. Nobody said they did not enjoy it. 77% felt they had enjoyed
school more as a result of using the PDAs, and 54% said they had done more schoolwork
at home because they could use the device. Over 84% of the children said they found it
easier to learn by using the PDAs, with 83% saying they felt they had learned more
during the year because of it.

 “I learned much more than normally, especially from the ICT side. It was portable, so
 could be used in any educational moment. And it had animations which were very easy
 to create, but also help you memorise the imagery side of a subject.”
 (Wilbury pupil comment.)

The children were motivated by different activities on the devices. The ‘game’ style
activities proved to be particularly enjoyed, especially the SUMS Online software. This
was used by many pupils in their own time, whereas it was unlikely that the majority of
them would have undertaken paper-based maths practice voluntarily. Similarly, the
science game activities, which form part of the Big Bus software, were frequently used by
the pupils in their own time.
The small, personal design of the PDA meant they could use this software wherever they
were, and some of the children told us they ‘multitasked’ by doing activities on the PDA
at the same time as, for example, watching television.

 “Once the nature had worn off, they were still motivated to use them and loved also
The creativenovelty of the animation software available, particularly Phatpad, was it.”
popular and resulted in many of the children choosing to use this software to show what
 (Wilbury teacher comment.)

       Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
they had learned in many subject areas. Many seemed keen to continue working on their
animations in their own time to create more ambitious presentations, which they were
proud to ‘beam’ to their teachers once they had completed the work. The multimedia
approach to showing what they had learned also motivated some reluctant writers to
produce better work. The PDA made it possible for them to combine digital photos,
drawings and sound recordings, which proved an enabler for some who find working
with purely text to be a barrier. The teachers have identified that those children of middle
and lower ability were more engaged in their learning throughout the year than they
would usually expect.

Many of the children have also shown great enthusiasm and willingness to discuss their
use of the PDAs, and as the year progressed they showed developing maturity in how
they articulated this. This has been exemplified on a number of occasions when the
children have been asked to talk to school visitors about their PDA use, and in some
instances stand up in front of audiences to talk, or present via video conference at Local
Authority events.

Independent Learning: As previously described, over the year, as their experience with
the device has grown, the children have developed the independence needed to consider
the learning task they are going to undertake, consider the tools they have at their
disposal and make an informed decision about which one to use, be it on the PDA or not.
The versatility of the PDA, with its numerous tools and styles of tool (text based, sound
based, graphics etc.) meant that there was something to appeal to the different learning
styles of the children, and they have become aware of the importance of selecting the
right tool. The PDAs have proved to be very inclusive as they give better access to a
wider variety of methods of recording information and communicating what has been

The children have also shown great responsibility for their PDAs, with very few
breakages caused by poor treatment, and no losses whatsoever. On the whole, the
children brought their devices to school every day, fully charged and ready for work. Of
the 26 parents who responded to the Parents Questionnaire, only one indicated that they
felt their child had not taken good responsibility for the device.

Reading / Writing: The use of ebooks was particularly successful in motivating the
children to read. We found that children who were reluctant to read in the first place
were, in many cases, happier to read an ebook, and the interactive functionality of the
ebooks helped them if they came across difficult words. For those children who enjoyed
reading anyway the ebooks were successful in ‘enticing’ them to read books at a higher
level than they were otherwise attempting. These texts were generally ‘classics’ as these
are freely available to download from the Internet. It was interesting to see how much the
pupils enjoyed these and how they openly admitted that they would not normally be
interested in reading these books if they had been in paper form. Again, the interactive
functionality of the ebooks helped the children persevere with the harder texts, as they
were able to look up words from within the book, without having to reach for a
dictionary. This has lead to an increased vocabulary and potentially an impact on
understanding sentence structure and increasing their confidence in tackling more
challenging books.

The use of the PDAs has not obviously impacted on writing in the short term. The design
of the device does not lend itself to written work as opposed to, for example, a laptop,
which automatically leads to a written approach as its primary method of input is via a
keyboard. The PDA has no keyboard (except an onscreen keyboard) and the primary
        Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
method if input is by writing or drawing on the screen, or recording your voice. However,
the fact that the pupils have been encouraged to record their thoughts and organise them,
through the multimedia tools on the device, will ultimately make some impact on their

Note taking Skills: The use of the PDAs across the year has developed the children’s
note taking skills as they became used to summarising information and breaking it down
into blocks. They also used the mind-mapping tool (Inspiration) to record information
and organise their thoughts. One of the advantages of getting used to sorting out an
underlying pattern is that this can be used as a basis for children’s own writing. A flow
chart format helps to structure a narrative and for weaker writers even provides

Gender Differences: The pilot year at Wilbury Junior School was predominantly female
(66%.) One teacher felt that using the PDA lessened the gender differences over time as
the girls responded well to the ‘dramatic’ speaking (recording) and listening use of the
PDAs (extensive use of Phatpad), and the boys followed their use. Over all, the girls in
the year group seemed to favour the speaking and listening applications and were
generally more creative about their use of these, whereas the boys favoured the visual
applications more and enjoyed working with graphics and images. The girls tended to be
the ones who would do more work at home and voluntarily undertake additional PDA
based work. An element of competition over who got there first developed between some
of the boys when the teacher was asking for answers or examples to be displayed on the
whiteboard, from the pupils PDAs, via Synchroneyes.

Speaking and Listening: The Primary National Strategy increasingly identifies the
importance of providing children with opportunities for ‘Talk for Learning’. These are;

•   playing an active role in directing their own learning, e.g. making decisions about
    how to approach a task, selecting appropriate resources;
•   engaging in speaking and listening in a variety of groupings and settings, e.g. reading
    out loud as an individual and a larger group during shared reading, working
    collaboratively on an investigation during group work, reporting findings as a
    newscaster during a plenary session, interviewing people as part of a research project,
    acting as a guide for a visitor to the school;
•   using language creatively and imaginatively, e.g. through role-play, hot-seating,
•   demonstrating what they know and evaluating their understanding, e.g. involvement
    in plenary sessions, use of response partners.

When the children first started using the voice recorder they were usually quite self-
conscious and wanted to record in private and re-record frequently until their recordings
were perceived as perfect. This soon passed, and the children quickly became confident
with recording their voices and hearing them back. With greater emphasis on using the
voice recorder, and on creating multimedia presentations involving voice recordings, as
well as on drama and role play, there has been a positive impact on speaking and
listening. Because the children were recording their thoughts more often, in addition to
sharing them with a peer in the classroom, there was a greater feeling that their
recordings were for public consumption, and could obviously be shared and played back.
They therefore put more effort into clearer speaking/presentation, and this developed as
the year went on. They also enjoyed recording group discussions, and this had an impact

       Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
on their turn-taking skills. As previously mentioned, some of the children showed
exceptional skills when presenting to large audiences at Local Authority events, when
making videos about their PDA use and when making podcasts (described below.)

Teaching styles: The teachers involved feel that by having a class full of devices that lent
themselves to multimedia use over text-based use, they found themselves considering
ways to use the PDAs that didn’t involve extended writing. As a result they have found
their teaching and assessment styles have changed to accommodate the full potential of
the devices. There has been an increase in speaking, listening and drama/role-play
activities, and the teachers have encouraged the children to find different ways to learn, to
complement rather than replace existing ways. The teachers commented that they have
been constantly evaluating their own practice. Predictably, the teachers with the most ICT
confidence adapted to PDA use most quickly and the impact was greatest in their classes.

Parental Involvement (See Appendix A for questionnaire results)
There were mixed levels of support for the pilot from parents of the Year 6 children
involved. Initially a minority had voiced their concerns at the cost involved, as the
original plan was to ask parents/carers to make financial contributions towards total
ownership of the device, with support from the eLearning Foundation and the school for
those who would find this difficult. When this plan was changed and parental
contributions not requested there seemed to be more enthusiasm towards learning with
PDAs. Parental consent was given for 88% of the children to take the PDA home. Only
38% of the parents/carers completed the evaluation questionnaire, 77% of whom had
given permission for the PDA to be used at home.

Many children commented on how they had enjoyed sharing their work on their PDA
with their families, and some had got parents and siblings involved in creating
multimedia presentations and animations. For example, one pupil showed us her Phatpad
animation of the water cycle, which included a voice-over by her younger brother. A
majority of parents who had allowed the PDA at home felt that their child had talked to
them more often about what they had done at school or showed them more often, because
of the PDA use. Some parents had commented to teachers and the Headteacher about
how enthusiastic their children were about the pilot, and one parent mentioned how the
family had upgraded their home ICT as a result of their child bringing the PDA home to
use for school work. Similarly, some had commented to the Headteacher that they had
enjoyed using the PDA themselves. 19% felt that the PDA had benefitted other members
of the household as well as the child involved in the pilot.

“ or two have said how it’s perhaps helped the bond between them and their
children because they bring the PDA home, they share what’s been done at school and
what successes there are..” (Headteacher Comment)

A small majority of parents who completed the questionnaire felt that their child had
enjoyed school more as a result of the PDA use. Also, the majority felt that their child
had learned more during the year because of their PDA use.
When asked if they thought the pilot had been worthwhile, the majority (53%) responded
with ‘Yes,’ with 19% answering ‘No’. The remainder chose ‘Don’t know’ as their

Work Scrutiny: In order to make focused analysis more manageable, sample children
were chosen. 18 children were selected, 6 from each class with 1 boy and 1 girl from top,
middle and bottom ability ranges. This allowed some exploration of gender issues and
       Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
whether there was a greater impact of PDA use for the higher or lower ability children. A
scrutiny was carried out on the work of the sample children, against the Qualifications
and Curriculum Authority Writing Assessment Focuses (AFs.) Sample children’s data
was submitted for:
Speaking and Listening, Reading and Writing.
    • Key Skills, Thinking Skills, Pupil Attitude to Learning.

Literacy books and other work were scrutinised, with a particular emphasis on those
areas where it had been predicted the use of PDAs was most likely to impact on writing.
A general noticeable improvement was shown in the sample children’s ability to:
   • Produce texts which are appropriate to task, reader and purpose (AF2.) It may be
       that the use of Phatpad for animations / recorded explanations and multimedia
       presentations has supported structure and organisation in writing using specific
   • Organise and present whole texts effectively, sequencing and structuring
       information, ideas and events (AF3)
   • Construct paragraphs and use cohesion within and between paragraphs (AF4.)
       This was more evident in the work of middle and higher ability children. However
       there were examples where lower ability children had used the PDA for
       reconstructing paragraphs, and had found this motivating.
   • Vary sentences for clarity, purpose and effect (AF5)

Some children accessed texts at a higher level than they otherwise might have, and used
the PDAs’ built-in dictionary to help them do this, which should eventually lead to them
acquiring an increased understanding of, and confidence in using more challenging
vocabulary. However, there was less evidence in the work of the sample children to
support an improvement in selecting appropriate and effectively vocabulary from using
the PDAs.

SATs Results: It was significant that this year the overall English SATs results were the
highest at Wilbury Junior School for eight years, and we feel the use of the PDAs will
have had some impact on this.
    • English – Overall Level 4+ results improved by 5% on 2008
    • English – Overall L5 results improved by 5% on 2008
    • Maths – L4 results stayed the same but L5 results were down slightly on 2008.
    • Science – L4 results dropped slightly but L5 results improved by 3% on 2008.
As other initiatives were introduced in Year 6 during the pilot year, particularly the Pie
Corbett ‘Talk for Writing’ approach, it would be wrong to attribute all of the success in
the English SATs solely to the use of PDAs, and credit must of course go to the high
quality of teaching.

Other ICT: The use of the PDAs in Year 6 at Wilbury led to the introduction of other
creative ICT activities, meaning that throughout the year the cross-curricular ICT
experience was very rich and engaging. For example:

   •   Podcasting: When World War 2 was studied during the spring term the school
       invited in some local people who had been evacuated during the war. The children
       planned to make podcasts about the visits, which they planned on the PDAs. They
       interviewed the people about their evacuation experiences, recorded these
       interviews and published these podcasts online, from where they could be
       downloaded to the PDAs (or other multimedia devices) and listened back to.
       Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
       Children from Year 7 at Fearnhill school, many of whom has been at Wilbury,
       also made podcasts about going to secondary school, what to expect, what they
       wished they’d known when they were in Year 6 etc. These were published on a
       shared interest group on the Hertfordshire Learning Platform (RM Kaleidos) so
       that children in Wilbury could download the podcasts and listen to them on any
       suitable device, including the PDAs

   •   Blogging: The teachers set up a Year 6 ‘blog’ using E2BN’s “Making the News.”
       This platform displayed quite well on the PDAs, so the teachers posted regular
       questions and ‘thunks’ on which the pupils could comment via the blog, using
       their PDAs or any other device with internet access. This method was used
       throughout the pilot to get feedback from the children about various aspects of
       PDA use, for example “What things do you think it would be useful for Year 6 to
       teach some Year 5 would-be-experts about the PDAs?”

                                                                         Example post from the
                                                                         Year 6 ‘blog,’ created in
                                                                         E2BN’s “Making the

                                Part 6: Conclusions

 “The PDAs are a really successful project - they help you on your learning and have
 really fun things, you can also practise your handwriting and create an e-book. Now I
 can solve my own problems.” (Wilbury pupil comment.)

 “There’s no doubt in my mind that it’s been worthwhile.” (Headteacher

Following on from the Pilot Year: As described, on the whole the teachers involved in
the pilot are very positive about the impact the PDAs have had during the pilot year, and
are keen to continue their use during the 2009-2010 academic year with the new Year 6
children. Due to the closure of another local junior school, there are 93 children in the
2009-2010 Year 6, so an extra class will be formed. There will be two new teachers in
Year 6 as one of the teachers from the pilot year has left. There will also be a new

       Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
Headteacher from September 2009, who is keen to continue the use of mobile learning at

Three of the classes will use the PDAs as they did last year, and it is expected that,
having been through a pilot year and having got through the ‘teething problems’ as well
as having learned what works well and what doesn’t, the impact on teaching and learning
will be even greater, with less time spent on solving problems and experimenting. Two
Teaching Assistants have been assigned as ICT Assistants to Year 6 and they will take on
the responsibility for organising and managing the devices, as well as basic day-to-day
troubleshooting. Having this assistance on a daily basis should have a very significant
impact on the smooth running of the PDA use, and should take some pressure off the

In addition to this, towards the end of the pilot year some of the Year 5 pupils were given
training by the then experienced Year 6 children in managing the PDAs and basic
trouble-shooting, so that they will be able to support their peers and the new teachers at
the beginning of the 2009/2010 academic year.

As well as a tool offering a variety of ways for pupils to access the curriculum, the PDAs
will be very much seen by the teachers as a tool to improve children’s attitude to

The fourth class will use a different device. Over the last year the market has been
flooded with lower cost, highly functional ‘netbooks’ (mini-laptops), which are in many
cases considerably cheaper than the PDAs. There seems to be a shift towards these
devices in Mobile Learning projects nationally, and fewer and fewer dedicated PDA
devices are available as ‘Smartphone’ devices are becoming more popular, especially
after the success of the iPhone. These smartphones are generally of a higher price than
PDAs and some use bespoke operating systems which cannot support the wide range of
educational software available for the Windows Mobile operating system most
commonly found on dedicated PDAs.

Therefore, with the lessons learned and experience gained from using the PDAs during
the pilot year, the fourth class will use Linux based netbooks for the 2009-2010 year. It is
envisaged that the children will not take these home but will have their own ‘personal’
netbook to use on daily basis when in school. Their experiences will be written up as a
case study and published on the HGfL in due course.

“To be honest there isn't anything I don't like about the project. I particularly enjoyed
using the PDAs at Hendon because if you found something out you could just write
it on your PDA! No pen, no paper needed. You could also make recordings which
helped with the work later. Also I enjoy finding new ways to use it in different
subjects. There is loads I could say but I won't go on forever.”
(Wilbury pupil comment.)

Conclusion: Whilst this pilot has presented many challenges, some expected and others
not so, it is clear that the use of one-to-one mobile technology has had a positive impact
on the children using it. As described in this report, this has mainly been an impact on
attainment through increased motivation, generated by the children having a wider
variety of learning tools at their disposal. This variety presents the pupil with a choice
that matches their particular learning style.

       Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
“It’s more of a fun way to learn and it makes you more interested. I think it gets you
more involved.” (Wilbury pupil comment.)

The touch-screen design of the device chosen for this pilot was significant in the type of
creative work that emerged as the most popular use of the PDA, and which led to the
biggest impact. However, it should not be concluded that this is necessarily the ‘right’
device for the classroom. There probably is no ‘right device’ and there may well never be
so. And, of course, it is not about the device. It is about the learner having a powerful,
personal, mobile learning tool, which they can access how and when it will help them
learn better. Most portable computers offer an array of digital tools that will be an enabler
for learners. If we had chosen a different device with a different set of software, no touch-
screen for example and perhaps with a keyboard, there would probably still have been a
positive impact, though this might have been in different areas. Nevertheless the children,
and teachers, would have learned which tools they find useful to complement their
existing teaching / learning styles, and therefore increased the learning potential with the
help of the device. It will be interesting to see whether the comparison of the PDAs
against the Netbooks in the 2009/2010 Year 6 demonstrates this.

 “This could well be the future of educational ICT, it is exciting as a teacher to see
 how the children respond to it and take it further.” (Wilbury Teacher Comment.)
 .” (Wilbury pupil comment.)

       Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School

Appendix A (p. 23): Survey Results.
Appendix B (p. 29): Links to resources mentioned in the report
Appendix C (p. 30): Acceptable Use Policies / Agreements
Appendix D (p. 34): Summary of essential considerations for any mobile
learning project.
Appendix E (p. 36): Acknowledgements

                                 Appendix A: Survey Results
                                      Children’s Survey Results

    66 of the 68 children involved in the pilot completed this questionnaire (97%.)

      Example ‘Other’: Everything!, Big Bus, Word Mobile

      Example comments:
      Technical problems                                          Charging it up all the time
      Screen alignment                                            Small screen

     Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
Breaking down                                        There was nothing bad about the PDAs!
I don’t think there is a thing that I didn’t like.

Example Comments:
Research on the Internet                             Quicker than laptops
Practise maths using Sums Online                     Animations with Phatpad
More fun                                             Games simplified the hard questions
Made us more confident                               Programs to help us
Games that helped us understand more                 You could animate things

Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
      Example Comments:
      Because of eBooks and Internet                                                It was fun
      Because I learned more ICT skills                                             We learned how to turn animations into
      Because you do more work on it                                               Because of Sums Online
      Because it had things on it you probably wouldn’t so at home, and software such as Phatpad, Sums Online, Notes
      The experience                                                                You can have extra help with work
      I learned much more than normally, especially from the ICT side. It was portable, so could be used in any educational
      moment. And it had animations which were very easy to create, but also help you memorise the imagery side of a subject.
      Because we had games                                                         Lots of interactive things
      Because you could practice at home

                                          Parents’ Survey Results

Parents/carers of 26 of the 68 children involved in the pilot completed this questionnaire
 (38%.) Of those that responded, 77% were parents/carers of children who brought the
                                       PDA home.

      Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
Examples comments:
“The PDA project certainly appeared to be a motivating experience for the pupils initially”
“I think it helped her to develop skills and knowledge at school, but I don't feel she transferred this to home life. This was
fine, we were satisfied with her learning at school.”
“It is a good idea and something different for the children to experience.”

Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
                                     Teachers’ Survey Results

Example comments:
Obviously depended upon the child, but the vast majority were keen and motivated to work on PDAs, and they became
more independent over the year which was a general positive impact. SUMS motivated them for maths practise.
Especially the more able children really enjoyed working with them.


Example Comments:
The animations were another way in to helping them learn and demonstrate their understanding - an alternative to writing
or speaking. They accessed more difficult reading in the e-books and loved the maths games on SUMS and were able to
talk about what they had learned by accessing all of these things.
Especially on ICT skills

3. Did you observe any differences between those children who took the device home, and those who
didn’t? e.g.: device skills, attitude to using device etc. Please comment.
Example Comments:
At first yes - those who had them all the time become much more confident more quickly. This did even out for the most
part. Then some who took home didn't seem to use it outside of school as the novelty had worn off and some who didn't
take it home just seemed to really appreciate the opportunity in school and made the most of it. a project like this is largely
driven by the teacher even though they all had the same out of school access - they needed to know how to use them to
learn and to have structured opportunities to do so.

4. What do you think was the best thing about having and using the PDAs.
Example Comments:
Creative use of ICT across the curriculum, which provided different ways to learn - not to replace old ways, but to
complement it. I think this helped lots of children understand or think about things in new ways.
Their enthusiasm! - once the novelty had worn off, they were still motivated to use them and loved it. They seem to have
really appreciated having this opportunity.

5. What do you think was the worst / hardest thing about having and using the PDAs.
Example Comments:
To endure the first term full of technical problems


Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
Example Comments:
Looking back over all of it, the hard work we have put in has been very rewarding, and the appreciation of the children has
meant a lot.

7. Obviously this was a ‘pilot’ and a learning experience for us all. What do you think we could have
done to have made the pilot more successful. E.g. technical support, training, software, device etc.
Example Comments:
Technical support - A dedicated person available for some time everyday - problems should be fixed quickly or children
will lose interest and won't benefit either.
You have to adapt and teach differently and I think that happens as you go and realise what works for you as a teacher and
for the children in your class.
Device - market changes too quickly to really give a definite answer on that one, and budget completely limits you anyway
as you are often priced out of the market. It is hard to know what you want to use it for when you have never run a project
like this as you can't envisage what you will do
More, regular training for the teachers (you forget things so quickly, when you don't use them straight away and regularly)
and more technical support.

8. Having been one of the few teachers to have worked with 1 - 1 technology, do you think that one-
device-per-child is the future of educational ICT? Please comment.
Example Comments:
In terms of ICT as a discrete subject, they learn a lot of skills they have a huge amount of additional knowledge and
understanding because of the PDAs.
Once it is all going and there are systems in place for saving work/digitally handing it in and everything, it seems so much
less effort
This could well be the future of educational ICT, it is exciting as a teacher to see how the children respond to it and take it

9. Thinking about the actual device, what additional or different function(s) do you think would have
made it better for educational use. e.g. text input, camera, size…whatever you like. Please comment
Example Comments:
It depends entirely upon what it will be used for. The PDAs were great for our uses. It would have been nice to have an
inbuilt camera, but price prevents this. I think the lack of easy text input was a positive in the end, as it actually forced us to
think of different ways to use the devices, and different ways for the children to learn or demonstrate their understanding.
The voice recorder and animating tools were invaluable because of this. I liked the size but with every positive there is a
negative - it was small so the screen was small and there was no keyboard,
Camera, making webpages like SAM learning or MTN accessible on the PDAs.

10. Did you make any observations of how the PDA supported, or failed to support, those with
additional needs, either G&T or SEN?
Example Comments:
I found it was helpful for both, but G&T responded more.

G&T were happy, they loved PhatPad and the opportunity to have it to figure things out for themselves and as an
opportunity to teach others how to do things. SEN - most loved the ebooks, the voice recorder was incredibly useful as an
alternative to writing, and SUMS was mostly aimed at the mid to lower abilities too. In the end, it came down to the
personality of each individual child as to how much they got out of it. The G&T group made the observation that the thing
that makes some more confident than others is the self-motivation and lack of fear to just have a go and see what it does.
And putting in some time to do that. They saw the links to other programs/operating systems they knew even though they
looked completely different. So it is hard to say the impact on any particular group - if they don't like ICT or are not
confident with it to begin with, having a PDA may well not appeal to them either. But for anyone else, it offers them all the
opportunity to have a go and become one of the experts, they just have to put some time and effort in. Sometimes the
experts are the ones you think are going to be the least likely to take that role. With so many different uses and things they
needed to do, most of them became an expert at something, from connecting to the WiFi to using a specific program. In the
end, whether it supported of failed to support was down to a) - how they were used in class and b) the child's personality
and attitude to work in general and ICT.

Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
         Appendix B: Links to resources mentioned in the report
Wilbury website:
Fearnhill Website
Sums Online
iStars eBooks
Softmaker Office
Microsoft Reader
Adobe Acrobat Reader
SPB Clone 
The Big Bus
Red Halo  
HP iPaq 214
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      Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
             Appendix C: Acceptable Use Policies / Agreements

                              Home / School Agreement

                                   September 2008

                   Wilbury Junior School Handheld Learning Project

           Parents Home – School Agreement (School Ownership of Device)

The handheld PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) is provided as a learning tool with the aim
of supporting your child’s education. The pilot runs from September 2008 until 21st July
2009. The safety of the children is our number one priority and is everyone’s
responsibility. With this in mind we ask you to read this document and sign it to show
that you understand and agree with it.

Please also read through the children’s Acceptable Use agreement with your child to
make sure they understand it, before you sign it together with your child.

Points that you must be aware of:

   •   Like most modern gaming consoles and mobile phones, the PDA is capable of
       accessing the internet. Therefore any content available on the internet can be
       accessed if a suitable wireless network is available.
   •   The Hertfordshire Grid for Learning filtered internet access will not filter internet
       access in your home or anywhere out of school.
   •   For security reasons, the device is configured to lock when not in use. Each child
       has an individual password. If the password is forgotten please contact the
   •   Your child will use the device for podcasting (sharing sound recordings on the
       internet) and blogging (publishing online diary / articles) to support learning
       across the curriculum. The Local Authority guidelines for eSafety will be
   •   The PDA remains the property of Wilbury School.
   •   The software preinstalled on the PDA remains licensed to Wilbury School.

The School’s Responsibility

Safe use of the Internet

   •   Internet access within the school is provided by the Hertfordshire Grid for
       Learning and is filtered for inappropriate content.
   •   The school held an e-Safety session with the children on Tuesday 9th September.
   •   The school will hold an e-Safety session for parents on Tuesday 14th October.
   •   Anyone using the PDA in school should never:
           o Download, display or distribute illegal or offensive images or content.
           o Knowingly save or distribute copyright materials.

       Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
          o Harass, insult or attack others using email or other means of electronic
          o Distribute information about another person without their permission
               including sound recordings and photographs.
          o The school reserves the right to spot check devices for inappropriate
               content and if the rules are broken, disallow further use of the device
               for a period of time, or indefinitely.
   •   The school’s Designated Senior Person for Child Protection is the Headteacher,
       Mr. J Kerr.

Safety when carrying the device

   •   We have asked a Police Community Support Officer to come into the school to
       talk to the children about safety and to security mark the PDAs.

Parent / Carers’ Responsibility

Safe use of the Internet

   •   If you have wireless internet access at home you may configure the PDA to use
       this. It is your choice as to whether to do this.
   •   If you do this, please monitor your child’s internet use at home.
   •   If you are concerned about your child accessing the internet at home without
       your consent or knowledge, please take steps to prevent this, such as hiding or
       changing the wireless access password or disconnecting the wireless
       router/modem, or only allowing your child to use the PDA under supervision.
   •   Please remember that if you have web filtering / monitoring software installed
       on your home PC, this will not filter access on the PDA.
   •   Anyone using the PDA out of school should never:
           o Download, display or distribute illegal or offensive images or content.
           o Knowingly save or distribute copyright materials.
           o Harass, insult or attack others using email or other means of electronic
           o Distribute information about another person without their permission
                 including sound recordings and photographs.
           o The school reserves the right to spot check devices for inappropriate
                 content and if the rules are broken, disallow further use of the device in
                 school for a period of time, or indefinitely.
   •   Please read and discuss the Child’s Acceptable Use Agreement which includes e-
       Safety rules and sign it with your child.

Safety when carrying the device
   • The PDA should only be used at home and at school and should not be taken
       anywhere else.
   • If you child comes to and from school unattended, please remind them never to
       take the PDA out or use it in public. It should remain in their school bag at all

       Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
   • If you are concerned about e-Safety or your child carrying the device out of
      school you may request that the PDA stays in school. Please indicate this below
      when returning this contract.
   • If the PDA is taken home, please make sure your child brings it to school every
   • If the PDA is taken home, please ensure it is charged every evening ready for use
      in school the next day.
   • Please do not install games on the PDA. Please consult the school if there is any
      software that you would like to install for learning purposes.
   • If the PDA is taken home you may install the ActiveSync software that comes
      with the PDA to your own computer and use this to back up and transfer files to
      and from the PDA. Wilbury School and/or Hertfordshire County Council is not
      responsible for any data loss caused by the use of this software. The software
      should be uninstalled from your computer after 21st July 2009.
   • Please help your child look after the device.
   • Please report any losses, breakages, damage or problems with the software to
      the school as soon as possible.
   • Any software preinstalled on your child’s PDA must not be deleted as it may be
      used for learning.
   • Any content preinstalled to the PDA’s removable memory card must not be
      deleted as this may be used for learning.
   • The PDA must be returned to the school by 21st July 2009.
   • Wilbury School and/or Hertfordshire County Council is not responsible for any
      data loss or for the accuracy or quality of information obtained through internet
   • This agreement applies to the use of the PDA by anyone else when it is outside
      the school grounds.

 If the device, owned by school, is lost or broken beyond repair
       parents will be asked to reimburse the school for its

Please tick as appropriate before signing below:

I request that the PDA used by my child in this pilot remains in school
(but may be used on school trips)

I am happy for my child to take the PDA out of school

(You are welcome to change this decision at any time by contacting the school.)

I have read, understand and agree to the above points:
___________________________________               __________________(Parent /
               Signed                                   Date
       Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
___________________________________                  __________________(Headteacher)
            Signed                                         Date
___________________________________                  __________________(Chair of
            Signed                                           Date

                                Pupils’ Agreement / AUP

September 2008
                    Wilbury Junior School Handheld Learning Project
                         Children’s Acceptable Use Agreement

Your PDA is for you to use to help your learning. It is important you use it sensibly and

To help you do this, please read this agreement and discuss it with your parent or carer.
    • I will look after my PDA carefully.
    • If I take my PDA home I will remember to bring it school every day.
    • I will make sure my PDA is charged every day.
    • I will only use my own PDA and will not allow other children to use it.
    • If I take my PDA home I will keep it in my bag on the way to and from school and
       never take it out in public.
    • I will not use my PDA in the playground before school or at play and lunchtime.
    • I will only take my PDA to school and home and nowhere else.
    • I will only use the Internet at school when allowed by an adult.
    • I will only use the Internet at home if my parent/carer allows it.
    • I will not deliberately look for, or save anything that could be unpleasant or
       nasty. If I accidentally find anything like this I will turn off the PDA and tell my
       teacher or parent / carer immediately.
    • I will not send to children or adults anything that could be considered unpleasant
       or nasty.
    • I will not give out my own details such as name, phone number or home address.
       I will not agree to meet someone unless this is part of a school project approved
       by my teacher, and a responsible adult comes with me.
    • I will not share MP3 songs with others because this breaks copyright rules.
    • If my PDA breaks or has a problem I will tell my teacher as soon as I can.
    • I will be responsible for my behaviour when using ICT because I know that these
       rules are to keep me safe.
    • I know that my use of ICT can be checked and that my parent / carer may be
       contacted if a member of school staff is concerned about my e-Safety.
 If I break any of the above rules I understand that the privilege
       of using a PDA will be withdrawn for a period of time.

       Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
We have discussed this and ______________________ agrees to follow these rules to
support the safe and appropriate use of the PDAs.

Parent / Carer Signature:_______________________________

Child’s Signature:_____________________________________

Class:                         Date:

Appendix D: Essential Considerations when planning a mobile learning

Mobile or Handheld Learning is challenging to implement, and there are many
considerations that need to be made when planning a project.

   1. Before considering a device, ask what you hope to achieve through implementing
      mobile technology.
          • Specific curriculum focus?
          • Independent and/or personalised learning?
          • Extended learning opportunities within and/or beyond the classroom?
          • Pedagogy: exactly how will the devices be used in class?

   2. Consider the model of ownership and whether this will allow you to achieve the
          • One device per child or shared devices?
          • School owned sets (devices stay in school?)
          • School owned sets (devices go home - loaned to children?)
          • Parental contribution towards device (devices go home?)
          • Children allowed to bring in devices they already own?

   3. Mobility
          • A truly handheld device (PDA, Smartphone, mobile phone, PSP, DS etc?)
          • An ultra-mobile PC (not truly handheld: Minibook/Eee, Fizzbook, Q1 etc?)

   4. Types of Connectivity
          • Do you want internet access?
          • Will this be through a wifi network within the school? If so, is the WIFI
             infrastructure robust enough to accommodate all the devices connecting at once?
          • Will this be through the mobile phone network (e.g. G3?) If so, is this filtered?
          • If the device goes home and will use home WIFI, an AUP must be in place to
             make clear to parents that unfiltered internet access will be possible on the device
             (See AUP section.)

         Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
5. Device capabilities
       • What software do you want to run on it?
       • Can the operating system support the software you want? (Linux, Windows,
          Windows Mobile, other?)
       • Is there enough useful software available for the device you have in mind?
       • Will software be owned by the school (even if parent owns the device?) If so,
          does AUP make this clear?
       • Is software owned outright or is it an annual licence?
       • Camera? GPS? Robust build?
       • Battery life? Will it last a school day without charging? Can it be charged in
       • Method / suitability for purpose of text input? (e.g. a PSP is not ideal for
          inputting text but is good for video & multimedia.)

6. Leadership and Training
       • Do you have the full support of SLT?
       • Do you have the full support of teachers to be involved?
       • Will there be adequate training for teachers and support staff?
       • Will there be adequate device familiarisation time for the children?

7. Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) / Parental Involvement
       • AUP for children to read and sign.
       • AUP/contract for parents to read and sign to make clear ownership model,
          esafety (see esafety section,) payment plans (if applicable,) cost of replacement if
          school owned device broken etc.
       • Parental AUP/contract should be signed by parent, Headteacher and Chair of
       • Run a parents’ evening to explain why you are doing this and the benefits to the
       • Keep parents involved with newsletters, success stories etc.

8. Device Management
       • Do you want classroom management/monitoring software for devices (e.g.
       • Do you have a backup solution for children’s work on devices?
       • How will you distribute and collect files to/from devices?
       • Charging solutions?
       • Does device have expandable (removable) memory?
       • Repairs / Insurance / swap-out / spares?
       • Will you manage everything yourself or use a managed service package?

9. Safety
       • If devices have internet access, have you covered safe us of internet with
       • If devices have internet access, have you covered safe us of internet with parents?
       • Is internet access filtered? (School WIFI will go through HGfL but home WIFI
          won’t, access through mobile phone network may not be filtered.)
       • Is AUP clear about the internet access and filtering in place?
       • If device goes home, have you covered personal safety when carrying device?
          Informed local police? Invited police in to talk to children?
   Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School
           •   Are devices security marked, passworded?
           •   Parental AUP should be clear that children can leave device in school if parents
               are concerned about safety.
           •   Also consider screen size, amount of intended use, method of input (thumbs? RSI

   10. Funding
           • Will the school fund entirely?
           • Will you ask parents to fund their child’s device?
           • Consider working with the eLearning Foundation (http://www.e-
           • Is this a one-off project or will it be sustainable?
           • Remember to factor in software and additional technical support.

   11. Technical Support
           • Remember that each device is a computer, therefore remember by how much you
              are increasing the school’s ICT resources.
           • Numerous devices WILL require a greater level of technical support. Your
              current level of support will almost definitely need to be increased.
           • You will need regular in-class support for both teachers and pupils to prevent
              disruption to lessons when technical problems are encountered.
           • If using WIFI, a professional WIFI survey is advised to make sure the
              infrastructure is adequate to accommodate all the devices.
           • It may be difficult or not possible to ‘lock down’ the mobile device to protect
              settings. Therefore settings can easily be changed causing various different

                         Appendix E: Acknowledgements

Report written by Chris Carter, eDevelopments Adviser, Hertfordshire County Council.
Thank you to Kerry Godsman, Primary Strategy Consultant, Hertfordshire County
Council, for her experience and support throughout, and her help with the evaluation of
Thank you to Jim Kerr, former Headteacher at Wilbury Junior, for his part in planning
and setting up this pilot.
Thank you to Fearnhill School and the eLearning Foundation for their support.
Thank you to Angela Duston and the other staff at Wilbury Junior School for their help.
Thank you to The Big Bus for allowing use of their software at no cost.
Thank you to iStars for allowing access to their eBooks at no cost.
Special thank you to Amanda Burrett and Katja Hudemann, teachers at Wilbury Junior
School, for their tireless determination to make the pilot a success, their cooperation
throughout the pilot year and their help in this write up.
Special thank you to the year 6 children at Wilbury Junior School, 2008-2009, for their
enthusiasm and help from start to finish.

       Hertfordshire Handheld Learning Pilot 2008/2009 – Wilbury Junior School

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