Archive for 1:1 Deployment

One thing I’ve already noticed this year is how much less cluttered my classroom is. There isn’t the pile of resources covered in post-its for my TA to photocopy each morning and I’m picking up less scrap at the end of each day. I’ve relegated the charging cabinet outside another classroom and manage with one surge protected tower of 10 plugs – that doesn’t count as clutter! Surely 34 iPads haven’t made my room tidier? Well possibly…

I also realised the answer to the declutter question was more importantly linked to a process that allowed the children to choose and self differentiate the level at which they want or are able to work, look at things at their own pace and at times in more detail.

iPads in class often put children in the driving ‘expert’ seat. My attitude to new apps is generally not to understand them inside out first. I find that constricts my idea of an outcome and tends to waste valuable time trying to ‘teach’ them how to use it. So I tend to have a general idea of how it might work and let children explore and teach me. It has happened often in the last 4 weeks.

However today it wasn’t the functionality of the app that made the children the ‘experts’ today – but knowledge of a deeper level. We use Dictionary.com a lot. Not just as a dictionary, but also as a thesaurus to extend vocabulary. It has worked well with our Pie Corbet models of teaching/learning and shown improvements in the language used in even a short space of time.

Today we were exploring how writers use character descriptions to tell us not only what characters look like, but to give us clues about their personalities as well. The more able children were asked to take the text we had been looking at as a class and change the character by only changing the adjectives in the text. As part of the task explanation I admitted to the children I was struggling to find the word that meant other words with ‘opposite’ meanings. Immediately several hands shot up. They all said the word I needed was ‘antonym‘. Rather surprised (embarrassing admission, but I don’t think I’ve ever used the word!)… I asked how they knew. They all said that when they have been using the app Dictionary.com looking for synonyms, that at the bottom of the selection were a list of words with opposite meanings and that they had a heading of antonyms! Independently they had worked out what this had meant but until that point, and my admission, had not had the opportunity to show or share their knowledge. Guaranteed that that would not have happened by using the standard issue of thesaurus we have in school.

I was really proud of them and hope there are many more moments when such ‘expert’ knowledge occurs. I envisage when they start to go home, enabling children to have more ‘experimental’ time, that their ability to use them more expertly will very quickly supersede my own level of skill! I guess my role as a fascilitator will have to be more finely honed to guide their skills to extend and deepen their knowledge.

 

Apps can be costly. Even 69p x a few add up. Multiply that by 160 and it adds up more alarmingly. Many developers don’t release a LITE version, so it is difficult to evaluate or try before you buy. (A longer rant due on this – publishers (both traditional and software) will almost always let educational establishments try products on approval for 30 days, imperative when looking at a

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.

Jul
29

On Friday I had the second meeting with the company we have decided to purchase our iPads from – Jigsaw24. Three hours of productive discussions – both exciting and scary in equal measure as the reality of what I have taken on starts to hit home.

It is worth saying here that are also part of Jigsaw24’s e7 program – a free trial of 40 ipads put into a school for a full (long) term. There are terms and conditions – you can read more about this program here. However, having decided during the course of last term we wanted to trial a 1:1, this for us is less about the hardware and more making the most of the free support and advice. We will be able to purchase the actual 40 we have on loan at the end of the trial which is great news. So far I am impressed.

The objectives for yesterdays meeting were to finalise the order, map out the deployment plan and decide on the set up procedure of the iPads. As we progressed through the discussions it became clearer that we had three different mini-projects each requiring a slightly different deployment solution. I have outlined these below;

Staff iPads – x19
18 x Wifi
1 x 3G to be used as a ‘floating’ device, taken on school trips etc
The primary aim of these is as a staff tool to give staff the opportunity to familarise themselves with the device, engage and use it regularly in the classroom, learning from the the staff using them on the 1:1 program and being able to practice using the additional class sets.
There will be some specific things (register, LP and some assessment/evidence data we also want them to collect using the device – but more about that later).
I am giving staff the ownership of these, it will be their responsibility to set up, charge, and sync these devices. A list of required apps will be given along with an ITunes gift voucher to purchase paid apps with. Gifting will be used to push out additional apps. Support will be offered where necessary.
The primary purpose of this was I really want the staff to engage with the device, this deployment option enables them to retain ownership for any apps they purchase as well as transfer any existing apps they own onto their school device. We all learn from a transference of information and I want my staff to be in a position to find and try out additional things that work and share it back in rather than me be the only one pushing out suggestions.

Class Devices x 48
48 x Wifi iPad2’s
(Pockets of 8 with a charge trolley in each year group – R-Y6)
The purpose of 8 is so they can be used for a Guided Reading group or paired with another year groups set to have one between two.
These will be set up on a more manual basis using two iTunes accounts, a primary credit card account which gifts multiple licences to the account linked to the devices. Syncing, updating and pushing out of new apps will be done via the Cloud. As these are more generic devices, movement of work to and from devices will be done via Dropbox and device email.

1:1 Trial
70 x 1:1 iPad2’s
Each child in Year 4 will have their ‘own’ device funded by the school. These will stay in school until half term and following parental meetings, training and agreements in place they will go home for the rest of the year. This has implications for charging, I do not want to spend

Jul
25

Well two days into the holidays so far and I have enjoyed a couple of days of meetings with interesting and inspirational people. It has been a good way to make the transition from the circle of teaching, marking and planning to the other things I want to do these holidays. I always thought my days as a graphic designer and years in educational publishing would eventually combine with my teaching experience to give an unique insight into both sides of the fence and this is starting to come to fruition. I do think it combines all my interests well and I am starting to realise I do have some valuable skills and thoughts to offer.

So now the real work begins.

After months of researching, deliberating and costing we are embarking on a 1:1 ipad trial in September. This is both exciting and scary. I currently have several ipads, imacs and 15 ipods in my classroom and I know how time consuming these can be to keep maintained and up to date. The thought of the responsibility of dealing with an excess of 150 frightens me somewhat! All our Year 4’s (70) will receive an iPad, there will be other pockets in every year group throughout the school for class and SEN use and every teaching staff member will get one. Apple TV is being placed strategically throughout the school, along with some new smartboards and electrics to go with it! As much as the infrastructure changes I am nervous and concerned at how our teaching will need to change. There seems to be few guidelines out there for cooperative facilitation with mobile devices, especially in primary schools that I feel this is going to be a bit of an experimental year. One where iPads will be used alongside some traditional methods – I do not want my attainment to suffer through shiny distractions. So I’m going to blog my journey – hopefully it won’t be too much of a roller coaster ride.

In addition to setting up the iPads, I have changed ICT maintenance support suppliers, finally choosing a small but dedicated company called Infratek. I needed a company who could support our current pc based network and infrastructure and proactively and knowledgeably support our burgeoning Apple arm. So they need to spend a couple of days at school, hopefully sorting out our cabling (see below), servers, new active directories, backup systems, and our independent web filtering. I have moved away from LA broadband and we should be getting at least 40mb on a contained line rather than the current 2mb!

On top of all of those changes comes a new website and learning platform. After much deliberation individually and with local partner schools, we are the first of our partnership to go with e-schools. It looks like a good all round package, and finally sold itself to us on the basis of their commitment to working on mobile devices. We are going to be their flagship iPad school, I hope we do them proud. Unfortunately I still need to populate the website to meet the new government guidelines – no small job in itself.

With all of the above changes I am running a staff inset day on the 4 September, I’m trying to work out the best way to not overwhelm a predominantly technophobic staff and leave them with tools that they can go back and refer to independently afterwards.

If all of that was not enough – I have my work with the NHA to do, newsletters to produce and some exciting publishing opportunities which may open up. I’m also preparing for some formal research into iPads and attainment, it’s been a while since I did my doctoral research, but I’m looking forward to doing that in partnership with some other like-minded people and being able to add some empirical research to the countless notes of anecdotal evidence out there.

And last but not least my new Handwriting Apps will be completed and released. This is exciting and has been almost another full time job on top of the teaching for the last 4 months. However most of it is now with the developers and I just need to produce a website, some videos and some marketing to go with it.

So a busy busman’s holiday!