Digitising the learning experience: Scottish Borders Council's Inspire Learning Project
Developing digital skills to inspire learning
Scottish Borders Council launched the Inspire Learning Project in 2018, with the aim to refresh the education curriculum and make a difference to all young people’s lives. In a region where geographical poverty has had a major impact on the education system, the Inspire Learning team wanted to provide opportunity and hope to students to encourage them to find new ways to create and innovate through digitised learning.
Choosing the right education technology
The Inspire Learning team invested in technology to meet part of the project’s goal to develop student’s digital skills and align with their four objectives.
“When we started this project, we had four key pillars: mobility, personalisation, collaboration and excellence,” said Andrew Jewell, education lead for the Inspire Learning Project. “Choosing which device to incorporate into this program was a very important decision because whatever solution was deployed, had to link to our four pillars.”
Creativity also played a key role in the purchase decision-making process for devices. “We wanted creativity to be at the heart of the learning process because it’s very closely aligned with the curriculum we follow,” continued Jewell.
Creating a positive experience
Ensuring that the user experience was personalised and up to the highest standards was vital. Scottish Borders Council enlisted the expertise of Jamf, the standard in Apple enterprise management, to help preserve the well-known ‘Apple experience’ for users, while making the deployment and enrolment process efficient and seamless.
For these students, part of the overall appeal in learning with technology is in unboxing their own iPad. The Inspire Learning Project wanted to capture this excitement without the fuss of then having to manually configure each device. Jamf provisioned the devices over-the-air so that each device was ready to use straight out-of-the-box – often referred to as zero-touch device enrolment.
Creating a learning pathway with Apple device management
The Inspire Learning team wanted to ensure students had the best experience to succeed. “We wanted creativity to be at the heart of the learning process because it’s very closely aligned with the curriculum we follow,” said Andrew Jewell, Education lead for the Inspire Learning Project.
A native management platform was required to enable teachers and students to collaborate and create from anywhere. Jamf understood this need and has the technical know-how to provide each user with a unique experience and support in alignment with the team’s four objectives:
- Mobility: Many of the students live around the Scottish Borders and not necessarily near one another or their teachers. Having Jamf-managed iPads made it easy for students to remain connected and learn together, wherever they were located. Applications were automatically assigned based on the student’s school and year group. For teachers, the accessibility options provided capabilities to remotely lock all devices or restrict websites, applications and even the camera, to ensure students are using their iPads for learning purposes. As a result, students could receive a seamless experience while learning remotely as many of the apps could be rolled out over the air and be used.
- Personalisation: In order to fully embrace technology, it needs to feel personal. By using Jamf Pro, students have the ability to personalise the applications they use or request additional using Jamf Self Service, an on-demand app portal. This was especially vital for students with learning challenges where the Inspire Learning team could customise and personalise user interfaces and apps to address their individual needs.
- Collaboration: Jamf Pro’s Smart Group feature provides teachers with the visibility and access to assign students to groups, based on set criteria. For example, if students are available in an active directory group, the teacher can see what group they are a part of and make certain applications available to them via Self Service. Through this solution, the Inspire Learning team implemented a blended learning approach, where students enjoyed the benefits of different environments – whether that was a virtual classroom, 1-to-1 or group setting. Teachers can now organise specific peer-to-peer learning groups or focus in on a specific challenge, through the click of a few buttons.
- Excellence: This project needed to be managed, monitored and validated to meet the standards of the local government. Reporting and monitoring engagement were crucial for the team to know if students were having the best experience and using the iPads efficiently. Through Jamf Pro, the Inspire Learning team has one holistic view of all devices to ensure the timely roll out of apps, patch updates and software to maintain a high-level of engagement.
As Jamf enabled The Inspire Learning Project to scale while maintaining high levels of engagement, the user experience has remained positive and students are keen to continue their digitised learning across the Scottish Borders. Jamf Pro now supports nine high schools within the Scottish Borders region – scaling and deploying more than 14,000 iPads for both students and teachers. This has resulted in every teacher having an iPad and every child from age 7 upwards has access to a device.
“ It’s made a big difference to the quality of the program and has no doubt brought education back to life with the use of technology,” said Education Lead, Andrew Jewell.
This article was written by Craig Smith, Senior Education Manager, UK&I. Craig is an experienced education-technology leader, with over 15 years in the industry, including five years with Apple education, leading transformative learning programmes with 1-1 iPad initiatives. Craig continues to help educators succeed with Apple, leading Jamf's education strategy in the UK since early 2018, helping to facilitate successful programmes across local authorities, multi-academy trusts and universities.