Welcome to your local community website...
How the face of schoolwork is moving hi-tech
FORGET squeaky marker pens and scratchy chalk boards, iPads and interactive screens are a more familiar sight for students across Buckinghamshire.
Pupils today are downloading homework to their iPods, logging on via their touch screen devices, listening to lessons on podcasts, and using a growing range of education mobile phone apps.
Schools are embracing new technology. Not just as the latest gadgets and gizmos, but as another tool to engage students and develop their learning.
Dr Challoner's Grammar School in Amersham has been trialling iPads to aid learning.
Deputy headteacher, Mark Sturgeon, said students are used to playing with their tablets and mobile phones at home, but over the last few years he has seen this new technology being slowly integrated into the classroom.
The school has 15 iPads, with five being used in each class.
He said: "Last term graphic design and religious studies classes used them for design and research projects.
"Now maths and PE are seeing how the tablets can be used for their subjects. The pupils have used them in really innovative ways, from tracking their movements in sport, to solving maths problems and doing research as a group."
The school is also looking at students with dyslexia and dyspraxia using the iPads to help them overcome their learning difficulties."
Head of graphics, Peter Holt, is responsible for overseeing the new technology in the classroom at Dr Challoner's.
He feels that gadgets have to have a use and really improve the learning experience.
He said: "It's so easy to just buy each new product and crow bar them into each lesson, but it's not about that. "We don't want the children just playing around with them. In
graphics some of the pupils have used them to add something to their projects as they're more flexible when taking photos or drawing.
"The PE department is doing some amazing things by filming the students playing sport and using apps to analyse what they do well and what parts of the body they use."
It is not just iPads and tablets that are making the move to the classroom, other new technologies are being introduced to lessons.
Maths teacher, Dougald Tidswell, is looking into how technology can be used in lessons at Beaconsfield School.
He said voting buttons and interactive pens are two new tools his school has experimented with.
A 'pencast', used in maths, video records what the teacher writes on the board allowing the children to watch them later for exam preparation.
He said: "We use them in maths and the department of modern languages has also used them to help students pronounce words and we're looking at using them for other subjects. We also use voting buttons like the ones on Britain's Got Talent.
"It allows us to gauge how the pupils feel about controversial topics and we also use them to test the students by having quizzes. We don't want to jump the gun. It's got to make that transition from executive toy to school tool.
"We're not interested in gimmicks."
Anne-Marie McNaney, deputy head at Chesham Grammar school, said: "There are plans for textbooks to be accessible via tablet or iPads. We're in the early stages of discussions at looking at using these electronic versions for our pupils.
"There are also talks of taking registration via a hand held device rather than carrying around all students details on trips we could just have one device with all the information to hand."
Ian Usher, e-learning coordinator for the school improvement service at Bucks County Council, believes that the county is strides ahead when it comes to embracing new technologies.
He said: "Schools are working up to fully using ipads, the internet and online programmes are part of the curriculum. Students are already using this technology at home, so it should be natural to use them in school."
We'd like to hear from you. Send your stories, pics and videos