GLASGOW has begun the biggest digital education project in Europe - and one of the largest in the world.

Some 54,000 iPads are to be given to pupils and teachers across the city as part of the digital learning strategy in schools.

It will take two years to roll the equipment out but the scheme has already begun in the Shawlands learning community, on Glasgow's South Side.

Claire Harvey, quality improvement officer with a remit for digital learning, said the digital roll out is not just about technology but focuses on learning and teaching.

She said: "This is helping our children and young people adapt to a digital world.

"It's been shown that 90 per cent of jobs in Scotland involve digital work and so our pupils will be ready for the workplace.

"Using new technology allows our pupils to collaborate, it gives them confidence

"Curriculum for Excellence is all about allowing pupils to lead their own learning and that is exactly what we are seeing happen when children and young people work with digital."

Each school has a digital head of learning (DLOL) who is responsible for spearheading the project in their school.

All teachers in Shawlands Academy have now been assigned their iPads and during November the teacher iPad deployment is taking place in St Thomas Aquinas and Notre Dame secondaries and their associated primaries and early years centres.

Interactive whiteboards in classrooms and playrooms are to be replaced by Apple TV and all P6 to S6 pupils will have their own iPad.

For children from early years up to P5 the ratio will be one iPad between five pupils.

And a model classroom has been created on the top floor of Royston Primary School, the base for the Leaders of Learning teams.

Patrick McGrory, faculty head of technology at Shawlands Academy is his school's DLOL.

He said so far teachers have been enthusiastic about their new iPads and are already looking at different ways to incorporate them in the classroom.

Mr McGrory said: "One of the many benefits is that pupils who need additional support can have their learning tailored on the iPad specifically to them without any of their classmates knowing.

"So the equipment helps with inclusion and it is very subtly done.

"In my subject, design technology, we are used to learning new things from our pupils because young people are at the forefront of technology.

"So we expect that with the iPads, learning will be going both ways."

Parents and pupils will have to sign an agreement before the iPad is taken home and parents can refuse to allow their child to bring it home with them.

If the device is lost or stolen then it is automatically wiped, rendering it useless.

The iPads will be limited in the apps available - with a focus on cyber safety - but will also allow teachers to set homework electronically and give recorded feedback on work that pupils can listen to.

Mrs Harvey said the education department was alert to the costs for parents so banks where pupils can charge their iPads will be available in schools, although a full charge costs around 1p.

Where pupils do not have access to wi-fi at home, they will be signposted to libraries or homework clubs.

Councillor Chris Cunningham, City Convener for Education, Skills & Early Years said: “This is a really exciting time for our schools and an amazing opportunity to digitally enhance the learning and teaching opportunities in our classrooms.

“We want our children and young people to be equipped with the skills that will make them true digital citizens and will result in raising attainment and achievement in every one of our schools and nurseries.

“This is the biggest Apple education project in Europe and Glasgow is once again leading the way in innovative practices.”