It is interesting to see how children flex and learn around software and technology. Undoubtedly there is some peer pressure and it is always cool to be up with the latest thing, whatever that happens to be.
To date our students have had varied exposure to the iPads depending on who teaches them and what year group they happen to be in. Some students have used iPads in 6 or 7 subjects, often on multiple occasions and some still haven’t used them at all. Consquently they will have varying views. It will be interesting how them all having the same technology, in this case, iPads, and having them in every lesson, will affect their attitudes and behaviours.
I’m re-reading a book written by Will Richardson about web technologies in education. It was published in 2006 so should be positively out of date now but everything he writes is just so true and is more resonant with me now that when I bought the book way back, maybe because I can see it happening now:
“It’s already happening in many areas of our lives, such as politics, journalism, and business. And from an education standpoint, this new Read/Write Web promises to transform much of how we teach and learn as well. For most, however, the significance of these changes is still just starting to be realized. We are no longer limited to being independent readers or consumers of information; as we’ll see, we can be collaborators in the creation of large storehouses of information. In the process, we can learn much about ourselves and our world. In almost every area of life, the Read/Write Web is changing our relationship to technology and rewriting the age old paradigms of how things work.”
(Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Webtools for Classrooms, Will Richardson, Corwin Press, 2006)
So, I think that Show Me and similar apps are great, but today I saw in our students all the same issues I have with it: getting it ‘just right’ and learning how to put mixed content together to tell a meaningful and fluent story. To do the girls justice they had a really good crack with an app they were using for the first time. Working with it really absorbed them, they didn’t want to finish. They were happy that it didn’t have to be perfect and they created their content. Real progress.
In getting to grips with using the apps on the iPads they are developing their flexibility and stretching themselves in different ways. Skills like this are so important.
Well, after a quick showing to a small group of interested staff a couple of weeks ago, our first teacher (Biology) has created the first chapter of his book using IBA, and, it looks REALLY good. Like anything new, there are lessons to be learned and skills to be refined – why is that text on the interactive diagram so small? Once he is happy with it and he is happy to show it to colleagues and other staff members; so much better when change happens from within! I think lots of our teachers will want to create their own iBooks.
I showed the iBooks app to our iGuides today (like most apps etc, there is a broad range of experience from amongst the girls, usually a lot less than I expect) and it is so worth covering all the things you imagine they know as inevitably piles of questions pour out and it is often a chance to correct some piece of misinformation or confusion. They got really excited at the thought of what iBooks could contain and we discussed the pros and cons of different media for different times and places; they quickly grasp it.
For myself I am quite enjoying the discussions we have together about the choices that are available to them as a result of having the iPads and seeing how they are feeling good at the prospect of making decisions for themselves and not necessarily having everything prescribed for them. I sense them understanding more and more of the iPad’s flexibility as we jump from function to function in a session. Last week they all wanted to buy themselves Apple TV!
A few points from today:
- Why would you send movies to iTunes, the first time anyone has asked me that in school. They understood the answer faster than staff would because they all have iPods.
- Uploading video and photos – definitely not a given at this point in our iPad journey.
- Introduction to Vimeo and mention of other newer social media platforms.
- Basic editing in iMovie – with so much movie editing in school it is quite surprising how many girls haven’t yet had a chance to get to grips with this
- They so ‘got’ Socrative. I might have a roomful of potential teachers, they were so enjoying it!
I think that lots of them are planning on coming to the optional session during exam week, oh yes, and they all want the option to choose a white iPad, for some reason it is very popular.
I’m very excited to be working with our volunteer student iGuides getting ready for our 1:1 iPad roll out. It’s interesting to see the range of things the students already know and how keen they are to share this. It also confirms that the value of this programme to help ensure a good spread of thorough knowledge through the school. I can see them growing in confidence already.
Helped run a short session this evening for our staff, demonstrating how to use Twitter, and touching on how Twitter can be useful for busy teachers. Content, resources and ideas can arrive on your doorstep and this is a godsend. I’m constantly amazed at how much terrific and useful educational content is posted and, if we get a sizeable number of staff tuning in to quality feeds I think they will really reap the benefits, and even cascade this to their non-tweeting colleagues. It’s good to be connected. (Didn’t someone else say that?) I think it’s also great that we have a staff team who are prepared to engage with new things so enthusiastically. I’m looking forward to hearing how they get on.
Arrived at Cheltenham. Beautiful location and 76 teachers. This afternoon I worked alongside teachers from Taiwan, Wales and Liverpool to make a movie with the theme “Romantic Architecture” after some basic planning. We got to see all the groups’ efforts this evening and I was amazed at just how much was possible simply using iMovie. Morfo Booth was a popular choice with some of the groups and there was some simple stuff but the most effective movies were the ones that used effective still images with well chosen music or simple photo effects which I had never thought about using with iMovie before.
Julian, our Apple Educator for the session made the point that we often ask students to do things without giving them the necessary guidelines to help them get creative. In our group we went from having no ideas at all to getting a plot together simply by working things through. It was definitely an example of how a group can be greater than the sum of the parts.