I must have written million posts in my head over the last 3 weeks. Life with iPads is a roller coaster – highs of children learning independently and lows of them being dropped! As well as the overwhelming desire to make the most of them, but not enough hours in the day to try stuff out!
However the total highlight of the trial so far has been the 21 I bought and gave to staff. Staff have been enthusiastic, engaged, trying things out and teaching us more seasoned tech users all a thing or two. For those who ever followed my previous teaching blog, you may remember blogging and my school didn’t really get on – they are now blogging from within classrooms, direct from the iPad within lessons! To watch our school NewsBlog grow – fills me with pleasure and pride. As a teacher I LOVE knowing what the rest of the school is up to. CLICK HERE to see it. I have also shifted all my ICT Assessment over to a single Gdoc for each class. Staff can now sit with their device within a lesson, observe and check off strands by level and ‘I Can’ Statements. These are shared with me, and as we have decided to develop our ICT teaching by focussing on a different strand each term, I can see how children are progressing. Worth the financial investment!
Year 6 have embraced the small class sets they have (2 self confessed technophobic teachers – but now using iPads, Apple TV and GApps with results!), the older children are taking home the ideas they have learnt in class and doing homework on their own devices using App ideas learnt in school. Year 4 are still struggling with the novelty at times, but there have been more than a few flashes of brilliance. Charging is an issue, but we think this is the covers not closing properly. Adapting ones teaching style whilst getting to know the class and fall into a rhythm has been more than challenging – I’m still not there, and not sure I will be for a while. Finding the right workflow has been frustrating – we are still awaiting our VLE to release their App which will enable e-portfolios and feedback to become a more fluid process. If this has not happened by Oct HT I will need to find another solution. Printopia has saved us a fortune in wireless printers. Apple TV is flaky to say the least, we have had faulty models and it seems the close proximity of the devices causes issues. We have also tried Reflection, but similar issues at times with devices not ‘seeing’ airplay as an option. My hunch is we need a wireless controller for all the access points as devices seem to be flicking between them randomly. The whole issue of updating, VPP and mass deployment (we now have nearly 160 devices in school) is a whole other post! Primary schools have a different set of issues from secondary 1:1 deployments and Apple, resellers and IT firms need to be aware of these. Our new IT Support company has been a invaluable support throughout.
I need to blog more… short successful lessons as well as the mistakes we make. Usual excuses of planning, teaching marking as well as an imminent Ofsted Inspection keep getting in the way!