Tuesday, October 01, 2013

IPad Sharing Practice - High School of Dundee

David Smith
Initially sceptical about the transformative power of iPads. Clearly a great device but less clear what impact it would have on teaching. Turning points were: increasing use of personal iPad; and visit to Cedars School of Excellence (probably the first 1:1 iPad school in the world). Became increasingly clear that they had to move to some 1:1 solution and two years ago, the iPad seemed the best way to go. Pilot project launched with two year groups and all staff involved got iPads about eight weeks before pupils. Formed links with University of Dundee which was seen to be mutually beneficial.
This year being rolled out to most of the school with a BYOD approach for upper years. The school treats the iPads lie a book list item and parents are expected to buy, although school is providing leasing option.
Some teachers unclear about how it will be used. Concern also that they would be starting from scratch. Specifically, how were they to access existing content? For example, no solution was given to access network drives, so a variety of approaches were developed. In retrospect, they think they should have given clearer guidance on using a standard way since less confident staff have not developed clear methods and lack of consistency in approach has caused issues. Perhaps should have looked at something like WebDAV.
Also, in retrospect, too much time was spent on how to use the apps and not enough time on the pedagogy - how to teach with the iPads. Sharing good practice seen as very important now.
Managing expectations is important. Wanted to make it clear that, "It's an investment, not a race!" Pupils expectations were easier to manage as they accepted they would not be using the iPads all lesson, every lesson - only when it was appropriate. Teachers though felt obliged to give parents their money's worth. The SAMR model was used again to help teachers see the long term goals as well as the short term changes that are manageable.
Measuring Success
The school measured the success of the trial by questionnaires issued to staff, pupils and parents. The University of Dundee came on board and collected data on attitudes as well as what was happening in the classroom. They have not investigated the impact on academic success but have instead focused on engagement with learning.
They have data on what the pupils thought they got out of it. Creating and presenting was the listed as the top benefit. Gaming was mentioned by the younger pupils - some use made of educational games but mainly they liked being able to play on the iPads, for example when it was wet and they could not go out to play. The pupils, particularly the older pupils, found they were carrying less - fewer books and notes - which was seen as a major benefit. The also likes the communication opportunities, for example, they S2 group very quickly set up a messenger group for the year group that was mostly used for school /educational messages.
Pupils very much saw the iPad as a creative tool - for example using Notation And BookCreator.

Some parents wanted to print but pupils did not see that as an issue at all.
What was reaction to adding iPad to required "kit" list?
Hasn't been a problem. But they were careful not to make promises about savings (although Maths department are using TI calculator app and on iPad texts and are seeing savings).

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