Laois & Offaly Education and Training Board transform teaching and enable remote learning with a managed iPad solution from Select.
Laois & Offaly Education and Training Board (LOETB) provide a comprehensive range of education services throughout Laois and Offaly managing nine post primary schools, fourteen multi-programme further education and training centres and supporting over 800 teachers and tutors. A culture of innovation has been at the core of LOETB’s success since its establishment in 2013.
The shift to remote learning on a unprecedented scale.
In March 2020, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD announced the closure of schools, pre-schools, further education, and higher education settings for students which continued through to Autumn 2020.
LOETB’s commitment to technology-enhanced learning ensured they had commenced a journey of digital in class-delivery prior to March 2020. The continued closure of LOETB’s post primary schools and further education and training centres changed the goal posts resulting in a sudden shift to remote learning on an unprecedented scale.
The immediate challenge was to enable a stable remote teaching and learning environment, allowing teachers, tutors and students to work together outside of the classroom. Access to a technology solution for teaching, collaboration and assessment was LOETB’s primary obstacle to overcome.
Colin Boyle, Head of ICT, Laois & Offaly Education and Training Board said “We needed to provide a solution that ticked all the boxes, one that was portable, user-friendly, featured touchscreen and the ability to easily incorporate assessment. It was also vitally important that we could centrally manage the devices whilst supporting the flexibility that teachers and tutors required enabling a personal experience”.
A further challenge was to provide a solution that worked with the productivity and communication tools that LOETB teachers and tutors had been using including Office 356, Microsoft Teams and G Suite.
Transforming teaching with a managed iPad solution from Select.
Having worked with Select [Formerly Compu b] since 2018, one of the key reasons LOETB chose to partner with Select was their ability to successfully deliver the full solution under the HEAnet framework, complete with Mobile Device Management [MDM] support. Given the scale of this project and the speed of implementation required, LOETB needed a trusted IT partner.
Select supplied LOETB 700 iPads with Apple Pencil and Zagg Keyboards, supported with Jamf School MDM, the leading device management solution for Apple in Education. Colin Boyle commented “Select are very professional and accommodating, they have always delivered as promised”.
“You see the difference, they realise life is better with iPad”.
With the full solution rolled out by January 2021, LOETB noticed a positive impact within the first month. Colin Boyle commented “coursework could continue outside the classroom and teachers and tutors could still maintain a method of inclusion despite the nature of working remotely”. Teachers and tutors who previously preferred traditional teaching methods worked hard to embrace digital teaching and assessment and their accomplishments are notable “You see the difference, they realise life is better with iPad”.
Other accomplishments include;
- Apple pencil has opened up an entirely new way of digital assessment with iPadOS 14 bringing even more power and support. Teachers and tutors can easily assign, collect and mark class activities.
- With iPad and Microsoft OneNote, LOETB teachers and tutors are transforming course content into engaging digital books complete with colourful photos, videos and voice recordings. Currently this continues in-class, allowing teachers and tutors to spend more time engaging with students. Built-in assessment tools allow teachers to view and track student progress.
- iPad has facilitated an effective digital workflow allowing teachers, tutors and students to work together even when they are apart supported with Microsoft Teams for iPad.
- In March 2021, the State Examinations Commission issued Leaving Certificate oral language examinations guidance to school management regarding the recording and submission of oral interviews. With the Voice Memos app, oral language examination recording was possible on iPad.
As part of their commitment to continuous innovation and collaboration LOETB understand that the success of any technological transformation lies in the hands of teachers and tutors. As LOETB move forward on their digital journey, training will form a key focus empowering every teacher with the skills and confidence they need to integrate technology practices across teaching, learning and assessment in and out of the classroom.
With thanks to Colin Boyle, Head of ICT, Laois & Offaly Education and Training Board.