Schools in the digital transformation.

A success story from Appenzell Innerrhoden.

In 2019, the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden launched an ambitious project to introduce tablets from kindergarten to grade 4. The aim was to modernise teaching and provide pupils with a better learning environment.

Appenzell Innerrhoden is on track with digitalisation in schools.

In 2019, the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden launched an ambitious project to introduce tablets from kindergarten to grade 4. The aim was to modernise teaching and provide pupils with a better learning environment.


After completing the evaluation phase, which also included the question of the appropriate system (Windows tablet or iPad), it was decided to implement the project with the iPad.


Since the responsibility and leadership lay with the canton, the canton was searching for a suitable partner for the diverse and complex tasks, who would contribute their expertise to the development and implementation of the project right from the start. The choice finally fell on DQ Solutions.


In the following year, the Proof of Concept (PoC) was launched, which was to show the possibilities, but also the limits of digitalisation in the classroom.

The canton relies on the cloud-based Systems Manager (SM) from Cisco Meraki as its MDM system. A test of suitable accessories with final evaluation was also carried out in this phase.


In 2021, the second phase started, in which school operation was tested in selected iPad classes. Feedback from teachers led to ongoing optimisation of the selected system. In mid-2022, the system was finally finalised and the last configuration work on the MDM was carried out at this time.


After completion of the intensive test phases, all schools in the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden – from kindergarten to grade 4 – will be equipped with new iPads in spring/summer 2023. Parallel to the rollout, work is being done on a further training programme for teachers. This should ensure that the devices are used appropriately and sensibly throughout the school, especially regarding Lehrplan 21.

«In the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden, a detailed and well-planned project over several phases, a reliable partner who contributes his expertise, led to the successful introduction of tablets in school classes.»


Damian Keller
Overall project manager of the Canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden (AfI)

An interview with Damian Keller.

Mr Keller, you have taken on a great responsibility in leading the project for the introduction of tablets in schools in the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden. How have the schools in the canton developed digitally lately?

The equipment has been expanded from 1:4 to at least 1:3 and a maximum of 1:1. The devices are now always available for every pupil. Infrastructure such as smart boards, visualisers are also now standard equipment in every school.


What were the reasons for the decision to use tablets in schools and in lessons?

We decided to introduce tablets throughout the canton up to and including grade 4. The decision was mainly based on the fact that the iPad is easier to use and offers a high degree of flexibility for teachers and pupils. One school unit decided to use tablets up to and including Grade 3. In this case we have opted for 1:1 equipment from Year 3 onwards. All pupils also receive an AppleID.


How did the cooperation with DQ Solutions come about?

We don't know any more. It was more or less by chance.


What role does DQ Solutions play in the ICT project?

DQ Solution was critical for us in the initialisation process of Mobile Device Management (MDM). We were able to benefit a lot from their experience in MDM platform building.


Do you also use services from DQ Solutions?

Yes, we are always grateful when we can implement or at least discuss technical problems together with DQ Solutions.


How does DQ Solutions support you in the pedagogical and didactical area?

We don't currently use any services from DQ Solutions in this regard.


How does the canton manage the numerous iPad devices? Is an MDM used?

Yes, we use the Cisco Meraki platform. Since we use Cisco Meraki access points, this was the best option, as synergies can be used, e.g. in the area of security.


Has teaching changed with the use of iPad devices? Has it become more individual, more exciting or more creative? What new possibilities have opened up?

Teaching has definitely changed with the use of iPad devices. With the iPad, you have constant access to all content and all levels of teaching materials. This makes it much easier to differentiate lessons and has made them much more individual. The variety of apps has resulted in new methods that also allow for a lot of creativity. Teaching has not become more exciting or creative per se, because this cannot be achieved in principle with the use of iPad devices, but through the choice of methodology and the teacher's lesson planning. Lessons have become "faster" because there are almost no dead times when students have to look for their books or take forever to set up their workstations.

Another big advantage is that teaching has become much more ecological because there are far fewer copies to make. The students no longer have to carry heavy backpacks between home and school because everything they need is on the iPad.

Corrections and feedback have also become much easier because the students no longer have to hand in their notebooks and cannot continue working during this time. Now they simply share their work with the teachers, who can then see what is happening live, so to speak.


Is the use of technology changing how we learn and teach?

Yes, I think so. Because students now have the internet at their fingertips, and you can find an explainer video on YouTube for almost any topic, teaching and learning is definitely changing. There is more focus on individual guidance and independence.


What were or are the challenges for teachers?

By summer 2023, all schools will be equipped with iPad devices and the productive operation will start. The challenge for teachers will be to implement the Lehrplan 21 in digital form. For the teachers, this means a considerable effort, because the introduction of Lehrplan 21 was not long ago. We are trying to familiarise teachers with the iPad through internal training and to make them aware of the new possibilities that the iPad brings with it.


Which apps are most frequently used in schools?

OneDrive, iMovie, GoodNotes 5, Leseschlau, Worksheet Go!


How do the pupils deal with the new possibilities?

I don't think we have to worry about the pupils. If they are not already familiar with the devices from home, they will certainly learn quickly. Working with the iPad is very easy and intuitive.


What does the digital future of the school look like?

I think we are on an excellent path. Now we have to adapt the forms of teaching to the digital age, which is a big challenge. It is important that everything remains dynamic and lives, freely according to the motto «the only constant is change».


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