Aim: To investigate the use of iPads to enhance teaching and learning in Science.

Background: HGS decided to launch a 1:1 scheme for iPads in summer 2012. In 2014, Biology, Chemistry and Physics had their highest ever numbers of Sixth Form students with a significant number of students choosing to study Sciences or Science-related subjects at university.


Year 1: Uses for the iPad in lessons ranged from sharing resources electronically with students via Showbie, making animations of scientific processes, taking photographs of practical procedures, making presentations to explain a scientific process and using the internet to research ideas. Apps like Socrative were used to help with assessment for learning (AFL) as they allowed staff to pose questions to the whole class to gauge understanding. Students were surveyed about their use of the iTunesU revision courses.

Year 2: A new Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Firefly was introduced in summer 2013. This was used to share PowerPoints and worksheets with Sixth Form students and to link to useful videos and other resources on the internet. User statistics from the site made it clear that students were accessing these resources to support their learning in Science. Resources for new Year 7 schemes of work were also added.

Year 3: Staff set up shared accounts with classes using the Brainscape flashcard app to build a bank of revision cards written by the students. The app allowed the teacher to monitor progress and usage, and the feedback from students was very positive. Data logging equipment was updated to allow existing and additional sensors to be utilised with the iPad. Kahoot also proved to be a popular revision and AFL tool as it introduced a competitive element between students and allowed teachers to check progress easily.

New AS Level courses were developed based around the resources available via Kerboodle.

Evidence: Student surveys, VLE user statistics, exam results.

Impact: The feedback on the iTunesU revision courses was very positive. Statistics from the school iTunesU administrator showed that there were over 400 downloads in the 6 weeks before exams in May 2015 for all three courses. The real strengths of the iPad scheme were particularly evident when students were revising. Showbie was used predominantly to share resources with students which meant that photocopying bills were cut considerably.

Results in 2014, particularly for AS students, were some of the best ever by the faculty.

Reflections: It is very difficult to measure the specific impact of the introduction of iPads because student cohorts vary so much year on year, and many other factors affect results. However, in the last three years the iPad has become an integral part of teaching and learning in the Science faculty (and across the school).

The Harrogate Grammar School website has some information for schools who wish to set up 1:1 iPad schemes:

Contact: Anne Maguire,