An Update…

So, we are about 9 months into our 1:1 iPad initiative and we are on track! I have not posted here for a long time, but it was primarily due to the fact that I have had my hands full with the roll-out and teacher guidance and training. Our focus has been primarily to get our teachers comfortable with having these devices in their classrooms and to expose them to the possibilities that theses devices offer them to enhance learning and teaching in their classrooms. It has been a slow, but worthwhile process. We started off by requiring our teachers to follow an iTunesU course that I created. The focus of the course was an introduction to the iPad and then a broad introduction to various useful and most popular apps for learning and teaching – with a distinct focus on apps which could be used in a variety of ways and which are not subject specific. The idea is to get our students to create their own content and extend their creativity. Since then we have moved on to looking at how to use this technology effectively, not just for the sake of using it. We are exploring deeper learning and more effective ways in which to engage our students without focusing on the iPad, but by including it as one of the many tools available for teaching and learning in the classroom – albeit a potentially powerful tool. The secret to the success of a programme such as this is when the teachers start asking the right questions for themselves and don’t wait to be shown what the next steps are; when they feel confident to show initiative and try new ideas without prompting. This is slowly happening and it is an exciting time for us. Has it been an easy, plain-sailing journey? Definitely not, and our journey is long not over. There have been challenges, the least not being effective iPad management in the classroom. Some teachers found it more difficult than others to manage how and when the students were allowed to use their devices. Also, creating an effective workflow solution was a challenge, but we have a WebDAV server for iPad work and have recently ‘Gone Google’, so we will use Google Drive too. Helping our parents to help their children manage the number of games on their iPads has been one of our biggest challenges. We have asked our parents to restrict the number of games on the devices to 6 – 8 games only, as they provide an irresistable temptation for the children, and they take up a huge amount of space, especially on 16GB devices. We have tightened our rules around the playing of games at school and we insist that our students use their free time for play and socialising with one another. I read a lot of blogs where teachers share their iPad successes and challenges and I have connected with a number of teachers around the world who are using iPads in their classrooms with huge success. What I see and read excites me and confirms for me that what we are doing is the way to go. There is no turning back! FullSizeRender (4)

 A Grade 6 flipped classroom activity – watch a video and complete a Google form afterwards.

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