Two pilot projects are scheduled to begin in October/November 2007 in Edinburgh, namely P6 pupils at Sciennes Primary School and S5/6 pupils at Castlebrae Community High School. Each pilot will last one or two years and will the project will be independantly evaluated. (Click here for more information on the evaluation). Further information on what the devices will be used for is available on the school discussion page.

A further pilot is scheduled for East Lothian for January 2008.

Devices
A Nokia N800 Internet tablet is being trialled at primary level in Edinburgh and a HTC Tytn II smartphone is being trialled in the high school. Sony PSP's will be trialled in East Lothian.

Connectivity
Connectivity is a major consideration both in the short term for the pilot projects and the feasibility of the longer term roll-out. Currently mobile phone networks offer the most extensive coverage which is especially pertinent for those living in rural areas or for vocational work which is a large focus in the secondary pilot. The use of mobile phones also leads to other health and safety considerations for younger children.

Current mobile phone tariffs are quite simply, too expensive to consider on a wide-scale roll-out. A decision has to be made to either investigate a more realistic pricing option or discard mobile connectivity as a feasible option for the immediate and longer term roll out of the Learning Hubs programme. It is important therefore to conduct one pilot using a smartphone on a suitable data tariff.

There must be intrinsic value in customer ownership for any mobile phone operator. From our survey, over 81% of our pupils already own a mobile phone (http://www.learninghubs.co.uk/LearningHubs_Survey_results_kids.pdf ) this equates to 58,000 x 81% = 46,900 mobile phones currently in operation amongst pupils alone. The idea for Learning Hubs is to offer the parents and pupils the most up to date phones that can be used in school for data purposes and used externally for voice/data purposes. The Learning Hubs programme would therefore lead to an additional 11,100 mobile phones and replace many of the existing phones 46,900 phones and their subsequent contracts or arrangements that are currently in operation.

Castlebrae Cummunity HS will be leading a pilot utilising mobile phone technology. There is a requirement to use data for school work and an option to operate voice and data communication for the pupils/parents on a separate contact outwith the school.