Students at the UK public school Flitch Green Academy use iPad, Mac, and iPod touch to create unique learning experiences.

The inspiration

Flitch Green is a public elementary/middle school located just outside of London. This modern eco-friendly version of a village school was designed to be the hub of the community — where the teachers support the kids so they feel safe to explore, to ask questions, and even to make mistakes. The school was built on the principle that there needs to be a purpose to learning, and that children learn best from an innovative curriculum that teaches through first-hand experience and discovery.

The founders of Flitch Green designed a creative curriculum that allows children to develop skills for the 21st century. The school’s philosophy is that learning is not just about gaining knowledge and acquiring facts — it’s that you need to be able to do something with those facts. This purposeful learning needs a strong investment in technology, That’s where Mac, iPad, and iPod touch come in.

When designing this curriculum, Apple products were a natural fit. Their ease of use allows students to master the tools, and focus on their projects. The work they’re able to produce is greatly enhanced by the creative opportunities the products give the students. Flitch Green’s creative curriculum couldn’t exist without the Apple products.

We wanted a curriculum that was meaningful, purposeful, and creative. And with Apple technology we have the whole package. It’s ignited everybody’s learning progress.”

— Tracey Bratley, teacher at Flitch Green Academy
The implementation

The staff first purchased MacBooks, and as the curriculum evolved, they quickly added iPad and iPod touch devices. Apple products have become an essential piece of how students learn at Flitch Green.

Flitch Green’s unique approach is taught through open-ended “experiences” where students use the Mac, iPod touch, and iPad, alongside more traditional media, to work towards an end product. “This allows children to use all the resources they have available to them to represent what we’ve asked them to do,” says Principal Helen Johnson. “And normally they come back with things that we won’t have even dreamt of.”

Giving all students access to all of the Apple products was also a goal for the school. The 11 year-olds as well as the 4 year-olds are using the Mac, iPad, and iPod touch to explore and create. “Originally we thought the iPod touch would be great for the older children and the iPad being bigger would be for the younger children. But actually our 4-year olds are more than capable of picking up the iPod touch, recording their voices, taking a photograph, or writing on it for phonic work,” says Helen Johnson. The Flitch Green vision — right from the beginning —was to equip the children with the technological know-how so they would be well prepared once they got to the outside world.

Creating their own learning experiences with Apple products allow the students focus on their end-product. The Mac, iPad, and iPod touch lend themselves seamlessly to these cross-curricular experiences and give the students the choice of technology tools that best suits their individual project.
The results

Since first opening its doors in 2008, Flitch Green’s academic scores have been in the 90th percentile, granting the school Academy status. Students are not only learning basic academic skills such as English, Mathematics, and Science, but they also learn and practice key life skills such as resilience, reflection, and risk taking. With the Mac, iPad and iPod touch, lessons are fun, interesting and packed with activity.

“Students can find all the objects inside and outside the school that start with a certain letter and record it with their iPod touch. They get excitement out of that which keeps them engaged, and keeps them learning longer than they would have if they’ve been sat down with a pencil they can’t hold very well.” says Helen Johnson.

Everything has a similar feel and a similar look — there’s synergy. So it’s easy for kids to pick up an Apple product and just start working.”

— Emma Nichols, Flitch Green Academy parent

Using technology has helped both the children’s speaking and listening skills — particularly for many of Flitch Green’s shy children. “Put them in front of a Mac, put them in front of a camera and they lose all their inhibitions, they’re really confident. “ Says teacher Tracey Bratley. “We’ve been able to gain lots of evidence from children just from watching what they recorded on iMovie or PhotoBooth. Apple products have given children the tools for them to develop their confidence. And it’s been a great assessment tool for us as well.”

Besides academic achievement, Flitch Green Academy can also lay claim to having students that are excited about their learning. It has students excited to come to school each morning. And their enthusiasm and love of learning is carried home with them. They are confident, creative students that have had their curiosity fostered with the help of the Mac, iPad, and iPod touch.