Last updated: 18.07.12

Newport school allowing mobiles to encourage e-learning

A school in Newport is encouraging its students to use mobile phones responsibly as part of its e-learning strategy.

St Julian's Comprehensive, which has around 1,600 pupils, had previously prohibited the use of mobile phones as it thought they could disrupt lessons.

However, it has lifted its ban on these devices, enabling students to Tweet, download information from the internet and send text messages to each other in the classroom.

Head of e-learning for the academic centre Graham Barker explained the school is "embracing technology for learning in every way".

Online learning could be a vital aspect of modern education, with the specialist pointing out academia nowadays frequently requires the use of connected devices.

Mr Barker suggested it is currently an "exciting time" to be studying or teaching in schools.

The world of work is currently undergoing a "revolution" in regards to technology and this is being picked up on in the educational sector, he suggested.

While the school does not want pupils sending text messages to each other in lessons, it "encourages responsible use of mobile phones by pupils", Mr Barker added.

Students are presently using mobiles to ask questions to experts on Twitter and download the curriculum on to their smartphones.

The school claims it "keeps its fingers firmly on the pulse of educational initiatives" and this mobile learning development could be a part of this.

As well as promoting online learning innovations, the school has transformed its old library into a £10,000 "cyber centre", which contains plasma televisions, iPads and a 60-inch 3D television screen.

It has also developed an online magazine, which discusses news and events including the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, school uniforms and a trip to the Auschwitz concentration camp.

"Pupils are in charge of uploading the articles and sending out the link to the online world on Twitter," deputy head of English Susan Williams said.

The school was first built around 60 years ago and aims to provide pupils a well-balanced and sound education.