There is plenty of research to show that access to technology is a bonus when it comes to learning. Since 2001 the Birmingham e-Learning Foundation has worked with over 80 schools and their parents to provide over 40,000 learning devices to pupils so that they can use technology for learning both in school and at home. Originally focused on Birmingham schools, BeLF now works across the country, bringing together suppliers, teachers and parents to join in making learning easier and more meaningful to pupils.
How does the scheme work?
The scheme runs because parents donate money to a scheme based around their school. Once parents have decided in favour of the scheme, BeLF, the school and the suppliers all work together using the donations as well as school resources and expertise from within and beyond the school to buy and deliver a tablet or laptop computer for each child. BeLF manages the donations from parents and the grants made to the school, deals with the suppliers and helps with the distribution of the devices.
Why should a school and its parents sign up?
- Pupils and students generally make better progress in literacy and numeracy when they have good access to IT.
- Technology in the hands of pupils and students means that pupils can:
- Research and deepen their learning
- Practice skills such as times tables or spelling using technology
- Record their learning in writing, and also using photos and sound recordings
- Use the devices for computing lessons
- Continue to learn beyond school
- Since pupils bring devices from home, there is less pressure on the school budget as less IT equipment is needed.
- A device per child means there is a computer in every home that can be used to create a learning community around the school involving pupils, parents and grandparents in projects for all. Parents can get more involved with their child’s learning
- Pupils and students get access to more up-to-date devices than schools can usually afford.
BeLF can work with suppliers to provide agreed e-safety measures such as restrictions to Internet access at certain times of the day and an alarm to help find lost devices.
BeLF takes most of the administrative burden for the scheme, so time is not taken up in keeping a check on things and schools can focus on teaching and learning.
BeLF works directly with parents who need support with the scheme so that schools can focus on teaching and learning.
Our annual report can be found here.