Tutoriage met this week for an update on the campaign’s progress, to check the focus and direction of the research programme and to challenge our thinking.

The group meets every few months and provides an invaluable, independent assessment of our work and expert advice on the implications of pedagogical changes. The group includes Academics Professor David Buckingham, Professor Colleen McLaughlin, Duncan Mackrill, and Head Teachers Simon Mason, Mark Everett, Anne Davis, Dr Barbie Clarke.

Key themes emerging from the discussion included:

The issue of distraction for today’s learners when using Tablets (alongside their smart phones and other technology with which they interact)

How CPD should evolve to meet the needs of teachers using 1-to-1 devices

The need for good, impartial advice for schools about issues such as procurement and the scope of work involved in Tablet schemes.

The two school Heads gave fascinating insights into how, as successful early adopters of Tablets, both have become popular destinations for teachers from across the world. School estimates that it will have facilitated 1000 visitors by the end of this school year.

There was much discussion about the reality of ‘distraction’ for pupils when interacting with Tablets, the internet and the constant demands of social media and how/whether teachers should manage essay editing tips. The group expressed a range of views from concern about to what extent youngsters were ‘on task’ when at school (rather than distracted and constantly multi tasking without actually learning) through to the fact that the school experience is all about educating pupils to be learners in the outside world and coping with the constant demands of technology. It was agreed that our independent research needs to investigate this further and that schools are grappling with this emerging reality.

Ultimately the goal is, it was agreed, to foster a generation of resilient young people who self regulate.

Another area of significant debate was around professional development and how through the introduction of Tablets, a new type of continuous learning is developing. The Tutoriage research has discovered interesting examples of student-student, student-teacher and teacher-teacher informal training and sharing of best practice. The advent of genuine mobile learning and 1-to-1 devices has heralded amazing new possibilities. It was felt that there is an important onus on schools to develop bespoke training for staff to help them develop (and continue to develop) the skills they need to teach pupils who use Tablets.

The Tutoriage team gave an update on the Nexus 7 implementation programme across 13 schools. The idea of transition from primary to secondary school will be of real interest and tracking how pupils fare who have used Tablets when they get to secondary school, compared to their peers.

Stressing the need for the Tutoriage initiative to continue to provide impartial advice and guidance to schools on the Tablet journey, the Pedagogy group agreed that proving the impact of Tablets on teaching and learning is a long-term commitment.

The Pedagogy group has provided its peer review for the Stage 2 research key findings. We thank them for the time they dedicate to Tutoriage. The research will be available shortly and Tutoriage will continue to develop its research programme.

Research agency Family, Kids and Youth has developed some incredible work to date whereby students are helping to develop research questions and are being trained as researchers themselves. We would like to develop this approach further by creating a panel of student research champions from a selection of our research schools; encouraging students who are the pioneers of this educational change to help drive the research agenda. That, after all, is the essence of collaborative learning.