So.. After a year of working with iPads in the classroom what have we learnt?
It’s fair to say that they have been a success.
The iPads have become indispensable to school life, used by all staff for all kinds of things. Video projects, reading projects, writing projects as well as the ‘usual’ apps and internet research. Children enjoy using them, and we are beginning to have a real account of school life through video, pictures and blogs. We have been able to run Skype sessions very easily, and to evidence all kinds of lessons.
1. Teachers can be incredibly creative!!
Once practical issues were sorted out the teachers began to use iPads for so much more than Internet research. Creating video, reading books and updating blogs. As the teachers became used to and confident with the technology they began to do more with it. This was brilliant to see and surpassed my expectations!! There is no need for everyone to be ‘expert’..
2. Less is more..
The first thing I do when starting at a school with iPads is limit all the apps! It’s easy to fill the iPads with one-time use or free apps and they quickly become unmanageable. Limiting the apps means that the pedagogical use can be explored. Those five apps I identified at the beginning are still the most popular!
3. You need a good system to share them..
For most schools 1:1 iPads are not feasible. Ideally the iPads would live in the classrooms, but if you need to share ensure the whole school knows how it works! Biggest problem I had was teachers ‘keeping’ one for individual projects.. So, at one of the schools I got the teachers their iPads first.
4. Be clear about their use, and model this!
We needed to make sure all staff and children are clear as to why we have iPads, and the possibilities. Run staff meetings where they are used – for one staff meeting each year group had to create a video reviewing the new curriculum. Share with parents at coffee mornings, so that they are aware of the technology their children are using.
For the future I will ensure that all teachers have access to a classroom iPad, recent changes to the curriculum have meant that more technology in classrooms will be a must!
It will be great to see what the teachers make of the technology next year..