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Using technology to help independent learning

Better use of existing technology in schools could help children who have difficulties with reading and writing make progress and work more independently.   Alison Greenwood from Cornwall Council Educational Psychology Service says: “Tablet computers have opened up a world of possibilities for people with literacy difficulties.”

Since the Equalities Act was amended in 2012 schools have a legal duty to provide children with disabilities or learning difficulties with access to the right technology if not doing so would put them at disadvantage compared to other pupils.

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Evidence has shown that using tablet computers can help all children learn to read but they particularly help boys and children from disadvantaged backgrounds.  

Cornwall Council is launching a specialist online course to help teachers to be more confident about using iPads to support pupils with literacy difficulties.  Alison Greenwood is one of the course authors and wants to empower teachers, to have the right level of expertise to support young people. 

“The online course provides an overview of school’s statutory duties, up to date research findings and good practice when using technology to help children learn.  There is also a step by step video guide which shows how different settings and iPad apps can be used to support pupils with literacy difficulties.”

Alison continued: “Tablet computers are already used in 70% of primary and secondary schools.  However some reports have questioned if the way they are being used is helping pupils to make progress with their learning.

“This course is based on research which shows how using apps and iPads can improve reading, writing and spelling.  Research shows that pupils spend more time on tasks when using computers and are more confident about attempting more difficult questions.”

Tablets computers can be used to deliver individually tailored reading, writing and spelling lessons for pupils on a daily basis.  In lessons students can have text books read out load using text to speech and tablet computers also allow pupils to record work using a variety of methods.  This enables students to be able to complete the same work as other children in their class and they need less adult support in order to do so.”

Cabinet Member for Children and Wellbeing, Sally Hawken, said: “Research shows using the right technology in the right way boosts pupils’ confidence and independence in class. It also empowers young people to learn with their peers and to develop news skills.”

More information about this course is available on our Educational Psychology Service website.

If you are interested in buying this course and you are a school which is maintained by Cornwall Council, please contact the team via email at to arrange a VAT free course purchase.