Learning from the 72,000+ devices already in Scottish Schools

In March 2021, the Scottish Government pledged to provide a computer device for every school child. The plans mean that every pupil from P1 to S6 will be provided with an age appropriate laptop, for use in school and at home.

Thanks to schemes like Connecting Scotland and Local Authority investment, as of mid July 2021 over 72,000 devices have already been distributed across Scotland.

What can Local Authorities and schools learn from these rollouts to prepare for the planned investment in devices?

The SNP’s pledge

The SNP have pledged a further £1 billion to bridge the digital divide in schools. This includes giving every child in Scotland a device to get online.

John Swinney set out the plans, that will cost around £350m, he said:

“Covid has reinforced the need to break down the barriers to learning. A child cannot do their homework on mum or dad’s phone. And they cannot study online if they can’t connect to the internet. These tools are no longer luxuries, they are the basic building blocks of a good education.

A Council’s experience

Remote learning did highlight the digital divide. But there already were Local Authorities across the country who had invested in devices. The Highland Council have rolled out over 30,000 Chromebooks across their local authority.

Listen to their Texthelp Talks podcast, "Creating inclusive learning experiences" to discover how they’ve used these to make learning more inclusive.

Using the devices

There is no solid timeline on when these devices will be available to young people. But already schools and local authorities are looking for ways to make sure they are put to the best use.

We hosted a webinar at the Scottish Learning Festival on the topic. This included speakers from the Highland Council, South Lanarkshire Council and Newbattle High School. They talked about their own experiences of using devices to remove barriers to learning.

But devices and access on their own isn’t enough.

Our speakers highlighted that alongside devices and access we also need to have:

  • The right software that plugs into pedagogy and helps as many children as possible.
  • Conversations with young people, teachers and parents/guardians.
  • A focus on teacher PD to improve confidence using technology for learning.

You can now watch their full discussion on demand to hear more practical tips that you can apply across all schools.