Creating the very best digital learning environment
Under QE’s 1:1 programme, personal computing devices (tablets) are being progressively introduced throughout Queen Elizabeth’s School as an essential tool to aid learning both inside and outside the classroom. We are providing our pupils with the very best digital learning environment, so that the School can continue to build on the stellar success of recent years.
1. Why is Queen Elizabeth’s School introducing 1:1 devices (personal computing devices/tablets) for pupils?
Our own experiences of digital learning at QE, as well as research provided by the Education Endowment Foundation, suggest that using 1:1 devices can strengthen teaching & learning by:
- Improving the quality and accessibility of teachers’ explanations (telling) and modelling (showing)
- Providing more effective assessment and feedback
- Facilitating enrichment activities
- Supporting effective remote learning, if and when that is necessary.
Understanding of the benefits of technology in education has evolved in recent years as technology has advanced. QE has worked with experts at the Tablet Academy, who identify four stages in this evolution:
- Substitution: technology acts as a direct substitute for traditional methods of teaching and learning, with no functional change.
- Augmentation: technology acts as a direct substitute, but there is functional improvement
- Modification: Technology allows for significant redesign of educational tasks
- Redefinition: Technology allows for the creation of entirely new tasks that would previously have been inconceivable.
In stages 1. and 2., the technology merely enhances teaching & learning; in stages 3. and 4., it transforms it.
Alongside other methods of teaching and learning already used at QE, the 1:1 devices will help develop our pupils’ own independent – or metacognitive – learning skills. Put simply, metacognition is defined as a self-regulated process in which students plan, monitor and evaluate their learning. The Education Endowment Foundation research has shown that students who use these metacognitive strategies make an average of seven months’ additional progress across their school life.
In addition, we believe it is essential to equip our pupils with good digital skills.
It is important to say, however, that we are not simply abandoning tried and tested ways of teaching & learning in favour of an entirely digital approach. On the contrary, our emphasis is on ‘blended learning’: we want to harness the huge opportunities inherent in educational apps and in access to online materials and resources, and to use these to reinforce traditional offline methods of teaching & learning.
2. Why are digital skills so important?
We live in a rapidly changing world where digital skills are demand as never before. We therefore want all QE pupils to be digitally literate!
By using the 1:1 devices, boys will develop strong e digital skills that will not only further their education here at QE, but equip them for university and for successful careers.
At the heart of our digital strategy is the Microsoft 365 suite of software, which is widely used by employers and in higher education. The skills developed using Microsoft 365 are easily transferable to other common software platforms.
The importance of digital literacy in the world of work was highlighted by recent research looking at data across occupation groups and skill categories. This revealed four big trends in skill change.
- Digital skills in non-digital occupations: The growth of digital skills is not limited to jobs in IT. Roles across industries increasingly demand technical fluency and abilities, including data analysis, digital marketing, and networking.
- Visual communication. The use of data visualisation has grown across companies, becoming increasingly important even outside of traditional data occupations. Experience with tools such as Tableau, MS Power BI, and Adobe Analytics is in high demand.
- Social media skills. Careers are evolving to the current media climate. Many jobs now demand social media knowledge to keep pace, such as experience with Facebook, LinkedIn, and Adobe Photoshop.
- Soft skills in digital occupations: Digital jobs do not demand programming skills alone; they require a balance of soft skills as well. These include skills involving verbal communication, listening, and relationship-building.
By strengthening our emphasis on digital literacy at QE through the introduction of 1:1 devices, we are responding to trends 1-3. As for the soft skills mentioned in 4, these are exactly the sort of attributes that we already foster here at QE through our tutor-led Personal Development Time Programme and through extra-curricular activities as diverse as our Combined Cadet Force, debating groups and drama productions.
3. Which year groups are taking part in this programme?
The new Year 7 cohort (from September 2023) were the first to benefit from the QE 1:1 programme, but we plan to roll out the scheme progressively to other year groups as part of our wider digital strategy – beginning with Year 9 in January 2024. The 1:1 programme is a significant development at QE which introduces technical and logistical changes for both staff and boys. We want to take the time necessary to make sure we get it right.
4. Will the School be providing training in how to use the tablet?
Boys will be supported to make good use of their new device through their subject lessons and, for Year 7, in their Digital Literacy course. The School has created a new post of Head of Digital Teaching & Learning. This person will ensure that the implementation of 1:1 devices builds knowledge and skills among both staff and pupils. Technical support will be available through the School’s IT service.
5. Are there any specific rules for boys to follow when using the devices?
Boys are responsible for taking care of the device and its accessories, both in School and at home. The following rules apply:
Use of your device in lessons
- You should only use your device when instructed to do so by a teacher.
- When a teacher or fellow student is addressing the class, you must abide by the simple ‘screens down, heads up’
- When asked to use your device, you should do so to complete the specific tasks outlined by the teacher and nothing else. You should not, at any time, have apps or pages open that are unrelated to the work set.
- Your device’s sound should be muted at all times, unless permission to turn it on has been obtained from the teacher.
- You must not misuse your device; you should not give anyone else access to your device, and you should not allow anyone else to use your device. Misuse will result in sanctions. Repeated misuse may result in restricting the use of your device.
Every email, Teams post or Teams message you send should be polite and respectful. Before sending a message, think carefully about whether its content and tone are appropriate.
6. Is personal use of the device allowed?
The device is provided to help our pupils learn. When in School, we expect them only to use it for this purpose. However, the device will also be needed for homework, revision, and other independent learning. They may, for example, use it for their own online research, or for reading in areas that interest them outside the scope of the classroom curriculum.
Reasonable personal use at home is permitted. It will be important that parents have a good understanding of their own internet provider’s parental control options to ensure that inappropriate content is not accessible at home. Aspects of the School’s filtering and monitoring systems may also extend to when the device is off-site, so care should be taken to use them appropriately.
Nothing must be downloaded on to the device which is not allowed by the School. Note that our Smoothwall safeguarding software does not, in fact, allow the downloading of additional programs, such as streaming and gaming apps, to the device.
7. My son already has a device. Can he use that instead?
Unfortunately, not. By signing up to the QE 1:1 programme, you are not just gaining the physical device but subscribing to a QE-specific service, with apps centrally managed to give the boys a point of access to everything they need. Furthermore, we cannot allow private devices to access the programme, as these devices would not comply with the School’s safeguarding and cyber-security policies.
The 1:1 device
8. Which device has been chosen, and why?
After carefully evaluation, we have chosen the Lenovo 13W R5-5625U (8GB DDR4-SDRAM 256GB SSD). Lenovo has wide experience of the education sector, and this particular device has been designed with the classroom very much in mind.
It is a powerful two-in-one device with a 13.3” WUGXA touchscreen display and stylus pen ideal for making class notes and for annotating onscreen documents. Super-lightweight, it comes with Windows 11 Pro and offers speedy bootup, ‘all-day’ battery life and rapid-charging technology. The device features Wi-Fi 6. It is supplied with a Full HD camera with privacy shutter and with a stylus with its own integrated charging ‘garage’.
9. Why not a standard laptop?
The Lenovo device we have chosen for the QE 1:1 programme is a powerful machine chosen specifically to support our boys’ education. A traditional laptop has several disadvantages in a classroom setting. Raised screens make it hard for teachers to monitor how a device is being used and they create a barrier between teachers and their students: it is all too easy for students to stare at a screen instead of engaging in a lesson. Our devices will mostly be used flat on the desk and with a stylus, thus removing the ‘barrier effect’ of a vertical screen.
Care of the 1:1 device
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10. What responsibilities do the boys have regarding the 1:1 devices?
11. How is the device protected from damage?
A protective case is provided with the device. It must be kept in this case whilst it is being transported to and from School and between lessons.
12. What about damage by other pupils?
We expect all pupils to take extreme care to ensure they do not damage the device of another student. If they damage another student’s device, they will be liable for the cost of the repair.
13. Where is the device kept when not in use?
At break and lunchtime, the device should be returned safely to its case before being stored in your son’s locker. Great care should be taken as to where devices are left, as this could result in damage to the device. Also, it should be kept in a locker during lessons where it is not required, for example, Games lessons (unless a teacher has specifically asked for a student to bring it to the lesson.) It must not be left in School at the end of the day. All boys should take their device home, where they can use it freely, both to complete and submit homework, and for their own independent learning.
14. Will my son be able to charge the device at School?
Boys must bring their device, including the stylus, to School fully charged every day. Just as they do with their mobiles, they should acquire good habits of fully charging their devices overnight. The device chosen has a long battery life, so overnight charging should be sufficient. They should not expect to be able to charge it while at School.
Teaching & learning
15. Will the device be used in all lessons?
Probably not. In some lessons, the device may be in use for much of the time; in others, it may not be used at all. In each case, lessons will be planned to support effective learning, and the device will only be used where there is a clear purpose for doing so.
Furthermore, the School acknowledges the importance of handwriting, speaking and listening, and of face-to-face collaborative and practical work. Sometimes the device may be used to record the outcomes of offline work, through photos, video or audio recordings: the emphasis throughout is on ‘blended learning’, with the device supporting traditional classroom methods.
Here are some specific examples of situations in which the devices might not be used:
- Where it could be dangerous, impractical, or where the device might be at risk of damage – for example, in certain Science experiments;
- Where particular exercises require the development of skills without computer assistance;
- For doing certain schoolwork or homework where the objectives include developing handwriting or replicating exam conditions.
16. How will the device be used for extra-curricular activities?
Access to the device will create additional opportunities within QE’s extensive range of extra-curricular activities – aiding collaboration, the sharing of digital resources and giving boys ready access to a greater range of applications and software packages. As with lessons, devices should be only used as and when instructed by members of staff.
17. Does this mean the School will be ending the use of textbooks?
QE staff are increasingly making use of high-quality online resources, subscription resources and digital textbooks. These help ensure information is up to date. However, some departments will continue to use printed textbooks; there are no immediate plans to abandon their use. Unless instructed otherwise, boys should, however, make sure they have their tablet with them for every lesson in a classroom, laboratory, art studio or workshop.
18. Will boys' handwriting suffer as a result of the introduction of the 1:1 devices?
A large majority of public examinations are likely to remain paper-based for now, and all our internal tests are all done on paper, so we are very aware of the importance of boys being able to write clearly and quickly. More generally, handwriting is still an important life skill. Handwriting therefore remains a priority at QE.
We do not believe that the QE 1:1 programme will have a negative impact on pupils’ proficiency in handwriting. While the requirements will naturally vary somewhat across the academic subjects, the inclusion of handwritten work as part of the curriculum will continue.
In fact, we will frequently expect boys to complete classwork and homework offline and then photograph and embed it into the device’s OneNote software. Furthermore, when the device is being used in the classroom, we will normally expect boys to write and draw with the stylus, rather than type on the keyboard: thus, they will continue to develop the muscle memory and fine motor skills associated with handwriting.
19. Does the extensive use of the device’s stylus mean that pupils will not be typing?
We expect that many homework tasks will involve pupils typing their answers, while classwork will generally be handwritten with the stylus. Like handwriting, typing accurately at a good speed is an important digital and life skill in its own right. Although there is no space within the curriculum for typing lessons, we strongly recommend that pupils take the time to learn to type properly.
20. Can my son use his 1:1 device in formal tests and exams?
No, unless he has a recognised Learning Support entitlement to the use of word-processing in tests and exams. All other QE pupils are currently expected to use handwriting with paper and pen for tests and assignments. We intentionally chose a device with a stylus so that boys are proficient in handwriting when the time comes for exams. With public exams remaining handwritten, it remains crucial that boys are ale to write quickly and legibly under timed conditions.
21. Will using the devices be good for pupils' health?
We are mindful that we need to help our pupils avoid problems such as eye strain and fatigue, both for their immediate well-being and their long-term health. Compared to a conventional laptop, the devices offer more variety in functionality (stylus, touchscreen, keyboard etc.), thus encouraging greater movement, with all the ergonomic benefits that brings. In general, tablets will be flat on the desk and used with the stylus. This means the ergonomics will be similar to using paper and pen. We will continue to monitor posture and ergonomics.
Personal organisation and self-reflection
The device will be used by students to help them organise their learning, for example through the use of the diary section. There will also be access to personal organisation and self-reflection tools, and access to the School’s online bespoke tutorial system, which allows tutors to monitor their progress and well-being.
22. How does the School safeguard students and ensure their appropriate behaviour when they are using their 1:1 devices?
The School uses monitoring and safeguarding software provided by Smoothwall. This aims to ensure that student devices are used only for appropriate educational reasons and to keep our pupils safe online. It provides the following protections:
- Student activity can be monitored by teachers during lessons.
- Pupil communications made through Microsoft 365 applications such as Teams and Outlook can be monitored and retrospectively accessed.
- A key-word alert system will monitor student activity both in and out of school and automatically inform QE if a pupil has attempted to access inappropriate material.
- Students will be unable to download additional programs to their device, such as streaming and gaming apps.
23. Will my child be staring at a screen all day?
No. At QE, we are increasingly bringing in ‘blended learning’ as our normal approach to teaching & learning. ‘Blended learning’ can be defined as the regular use of digital technology to enhance more traditional classroom practices. We recognise that time away from a screen is important, and our students can expect to switch between their devices and a traditional pen-and-paper approach during the school day.
24. What about safety and security when coming to and from School?
The Lenovo device is small and light enough to be easily carried, stowed within the case provided, in pupils’ bags. For both crime prevention and road safety reasons, we strongly advise boys to keep their device in its case and in their bag at all times when coming to School and going home again.
25. How do I pay for the device?
Parents will make a monthly payment of £22 to cover the lease of the device and the comprehensive managed service being provided. Arrangements are in place to support pupils in receipt of free school meals. Parents will be sent a link to register for the programme and set up payment.
26. When will my son receive his tablet?
Those pupils starting Year 7 in 2023 received their devices upon the start of term in September, whilst pupils in Year 9 will receive theirs ahead of the start of the Spring Term. The QE 1:1 programme will be rolled out to the current Year 8 for use from September 2024.
27. Who owns the device and what happens at the end of the subscription period?
The device and any accessories provided remain the property of the School and must be returned in good working order when the student completes his time at QE. Both tablet and stylus carry an individual serial number. This is recorded by the School.
28. Can my son personalise his device?
The device itself should not be personalised: doing so could incur a penalty. Pupils should, however, ensure that their name is clearly marked on their device case, in order that it is easily identifiable. However, just as with other School equipment, they should not overly or inappropriately decorate or personalise their cases.
29. What happens if the device is lost, damaged or stolen?
Any loss, theft or damage should be reported to your child’s tutor as soon as possible. The School will then assess each case individually, based on circumstances.
Whilst devices are being replaced or fixed, a replacement will be provided. Pupils using the replacement device will be responsible for any damage incurred to it while it is in their possession.
As is the case with other items, if pupils believe their 1:1 device has been stolen at School, they should report it to the School. Attempts will be made to recover the device in line with the circumstances.
Parents may wish to consider adding their son’s device as a named item to their home insurance policy; we suggest you check that the policy will extend to losses occurring outside the family home.
30. What happens if my son accidentally leaves his device at home?
Experience at other schools suggests that this is not a common problem – after all, pupils rarely forget to bring their mobile phones with them. Ensuring that their device is fully charged and packing it in their bag should quickly become part of their daily routine. If they do forget it, the consequences will be like those when they currently forget books or other important equipment: they will receive a sanction such as a bad note and find it inconvenient.
Our 1:1 device
Carefully selected with the specific requirements of the QE 1:1 programme in mind, the Lenovo 13W R5-5625U (8GB DDR4-SDRAM 256GB SSD) is a powerful and versatile personal computing device that comes equipped with a touch screen, keyboard and stylus.
- For more details, see ‘The 1:1 device’ section in our FAQs below.