Using iPads in education has been starting to become increasingly more popular over the past couple of years, especially in the United States. In the UK, we are slowly catching on as well. Schools are starting to supply students with iPads, such as one school in Cambridge that is planning to give tablet computers to all of its 600 pupils.

However, when it comes to exams, iPads seem to have been deemed out of bounds; or at least they did until recently, when Impington Village College rented iPads from us for a mock IGCSE biology exam. The iPads had the test papers loaded on them and each students received one, as well as a Kindle device. Answer, however had to be handwritten by the students still.

The school’s headmaster Robert Campbell was excited to be involved in the University of Cambridge International Examinations’ pilot. Students also responded positive in general, although some students had reservations towards the project.

“You would think that students who love cutting edge technology would all really go for it, but a lot of them weren’t sure,” Campbell said, according to an article in Cambridge News. “There were mixed reactions. Some felt they should have been typing on the iPads rather than handwriting, some felt they were distracted by it and there were problems when they kept on auto-locking.”

Still, once practical issues were straightened out – such as affordability and security – Campbell believes iPads will one day be an important part of assessment. After all, tablets or smartphones are used in one form or another in most schools in the county already.

Another supported of iPads in classrooms is Director of ICT at Cambridge’s Stephen Perse Foundation Lucy Waide, who said that all of its 600 senior students will get iPads. She believes those iPads will “complement” the traditional teaching methods rather than replace them and added her surprise at the fact that iPads and other technology don’t already play a role during exams.

She explained, “This is the way children are used to working. It is the normal method for them and so it’s only right they have a part to play in exams.”

The Deputy principal at Parkside Federation Academies Darren Coxon said that his 60 lower sixth form students already had their own iPads issued to them through the school, and from next year he wants all students to bring in their own iPads. He believes, “They give students the ability to access information whether it is eBooks, websites or teachers’ resources – and it can be done instantly. You don’t have to find a computer and spend ages logging in.”

In terms of this being a disadvantage to poorer students, he added that the school found in a study that over 90 percent of their students already owned a device that can access the internet, mostly smartphones. He added, “It’s the way the world is moving whether you like it or not.”

The nation’s exams regulator has been supportive and positive of the use of technology in exams, recognising it as the “natural medium” for today’s young people. An Ofqual spokesperson said, “Any innovation that can make assessment more in keeping with the way children learn and access information is a positive thing.”

So if you want to get your kids ready for the future but don’t want to invest in buying one, why not try out how they work with them by renting an iPad from us? Contact us today