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 It was published in 2006 so should be positively out of date now but everything he writes is just so true and is more resonant with me now that when I bought the book way back, maybe because I can see it happening now: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.
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.