iPads 4 Learning @ MLP12C

Encouraging Learning Through Mobile Technology Use

Tag: device (page 2 of 2)

Great Free App’s 4 Learning!

You may remember me saying some time ago that the tedious task of developing an application list for our year 6 and 7 students was somewhat… tedious indeed! The app’s which we had selected have been used to great effect so far, especially the free applications as the paid app’s have not begun to be downloaded until this week… as the iTunes cards arrived!

In saying this, we have, and are, always on the lookout for more great and wonderful free app’s to utilise in class and, what do you know, we’ve, or i should be saying our yr 6 team leader and iPad guru Michelle, have come across some great app’s for our students.

And so here they are!

Rover

Rover is an app that allows the user to access certain flash based content on the web, content that is normally inaccessible by viewing net based content through Safari. Mathletics is a great example of this. Rover is powered by the iSwifter platform, iSwifter also being a great free app with similar capabilities (the world’s first cloud-based Flash streaming platform for mobile devices).

World Maths Day 2012

World Maths Day 2012 is here. Today! This year World Maths Day is part of the World Education Games, where students from around the world can not only unite the world in numbers, but also unite the world in spelling! The competitions are independent, and this iPad App is for users participating in World Maths Day.

Math Dragon

Math Dragon needs help solving the sums the teacher put on the blackboard while he’s away! This app has the user controlling a 3D dragon and hunting down turtles who have the answer to the questions of a sum backed on a board stuck on their back. From their, find the answer, and blast that turtle! Once blasted the turtle will drop a ball, collect it, and pop it in the answer bin. If you get sick of waddling around, you can even fly!

Aaah! Math Zombies HD Free Lite

Do you have what it takes to kills the rampaging, well, slowly walking, zombie coming to eat you? Yes? Then this the math game for you. Answer the flash card questions quickly to put a cannon ball through those zombies or die! There are 150 levels to unlock so there is no shortage of zombie killing to be had!

Math Terms

Math Terms is a numeracy based glossary app that includes images and holds over 1000 terms from middle primary to middle secondary.

Number Battle

Number Battle allows the students to practice their mental math skills through answering short, quick, questions based on 2, 3, or 4 digit numbers covering the four operations. Students play this via a blue-tooth connection and take a photo of their friends face. On answering questions correctly, they get to add certain images to that face such as bigger ears, a hat, sunglasses, a funny looking nose, etc… A bit of harmless fun, at your friends expense! There are over 100 item to stick to faces and sound effects can also be added!

Penguin Maths

As this game states, ‘Math should be fun!’. Students can set their parameters for this game by making simple math questions asked to them simple or quite difficult, yet all based around the four operations. Students get asked questions and their penguin jumps from one ice berg to another, all the way to the finish line! If questions are answered incorrect, the poor little penguin drops in to the water. A simple yet rewarding app.

Shuttle Mission Math

Shuttle Mission Math is a math puzzle game that makes algebra, a topic we ALL LOVE, interactive. The goal of playing this game is to find the weight of each alien and assemble a team for the next shuttle mission. Well explained and good fun!

Speedo Math

Like most math app’s, and this is no different, students math skills are challenged through practicing all facets of numeracy such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, in a fun and pressure free way. The game has multiple levels and an instant results graph for students to view their progress.

Time Tables Warp

An app to assist students with learning their times tables whilst having fun as they blast asteroids and fly on cyberboard’s, gliding through a virtual 3D environment which is very well done. This app can also be downloaded for Mac’s through the Mac app store for students with laptops. A great app for its reinforcement of times table sums and probably the most engaging of the free math apps! Beats singing the times tables songs!

Dr. Suess Band

This is a great app obviously based on the Dr. Seuss experience of chaos and mayhem, all in the form of Big Band! This app changes your iPad in to a, as the app itself describes, ‘a vibrant, energetic musical instrument that all ages will enjoy!’ Users can play strange and wonderful instruments and there are over 120 combinations of sounds so users, hopefully, will always have a new sound to discover!

Fotopedia Heritage

‘Celebrate the beauty of our world!’ This app was recently placed in Apples Hall of Fame. It contains over 30K inspiring photos and is often referred to as the worlds largest photo book! Fotopedia Heritage gives users access to a virtual passport to the hundreds of sites that demonstrate the world’s ‘collective cultural and natural human legacy.’

Fotopedia Wild Friends

Fotopedia Wild Friends is a photo sharing app that is full of weird and wonderful photos of some of the planets most amazing animals, all of which have been taken by some of Europe’s best nature photographers. A great app for discussion about all things animals through the outstanding photos available.

Scribble Press

Scribble Press is essentially a book creation tool that lets kids create and share their own stories with various drawing and writing tools. Books created can go straight in to your iBook store! An excellent  and outstanding app, one that i have seen used in a few schools already, especially in the junior areas.

 

Dripstone Middle School Visit.

This morning we had the pleasure of hosting Toni and Kim from Dripstone Middle School from Darwin in the NT.


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Both Toni and Kim were in Victoria as part of a pilot school development currently beginning their own iPad journey, and also in the early stages of developing an ICT for Learning Strategic Plan.

 

Toni discovered our details from the Victorian DEECD’s website iPads for Education and made contacting asking if a visit to our college could be organised, as always, we were happy to accommodate.

 

Toni and Kim both had a solid IT background’s and despite having taught various areas and subjects, had a distinct passion for embedding ICT in a greater capacity at their school. They have just purchased 30+ iPads and were keen to witness our iPad kids in action as well as get down with the students and question them about their use.

 

 

It was excellent to see all of our students on task as we walked around the college seeing what learning was taking place and seeing the great things that were happening in class as part of their daily learning and teaching programs. The iPads were being used to great effect and although students were only using the free app’s from our app list, as we’re still waiting on our iTunes vouchers, excellent work was being produced.

 

As always i was very impressed with our students willingness to take time out of their learning to discuss with our visitors what it was that they were doing and how the iPad as a device could assist their learning.

 

 

The discussions we as teachers had, primarily focused upon pedagogical use of the devices as well as why, we as a college had decided to move towards BYOD. We also spoke at length about what was needed to ensure technology integration in a college or school setting was successful and discussed that both technical support, leadership backing, and, of course $$$!! I certainly hope that both Toni and Kim got something out of their visit. It was pleasure to have them out and we look forward to setting up some kind of collaborative project in the near future!

 

iPad Assistance for Parents

First and foremost happy New Year to all. We hope that you had an enjoyable Christmas period and behaved whilst bringing in the new year!

Late late year we had planned to hold a series of parent tech based sessions to give our parent cohort an up to date, relevant, and rich exposure to setting up an iPad Device, an Apple ID, and to manage the settings associated with the device for the 1st time. Unfortunately time had not allowed this to happen, hence, this blog post! We WILL, DEFINITELY, AND PLAN TO, run these sessions during the first few weeks back this year!

So. What is it that is important for parents to know about using an iPad? What is essential for them to know? How do we as a college support them as a family in utilising a device to assist with their child’s learning, yet can be used as a family device also. After considerable thought and a little bit ‘o research, especially from what i encountered from my Beaconhills visit (see our previous post), I have narrowed what was a million and 1 items down to a top 5.

1. Setting up an iPad for the 1st Time

This being a pretty straight forward process with the iPad itself walking you through step by step the complete set up process.

2. Setting restrictions

As a College we believe that it is a good idea for parents to set certain restrictions on the iPad device. These being mainly about App purchasing and downloading so as not to blow out a credit card bill, if you have one attached to your Apple ID account. 

3. Accessing Wi-Fi Networks

Free WiFi is readily available these days from just about anywhere, and knowing how to log on to and access these is important to know. As id how to obviously access your own WiFi internet at home if you have it. 

4.  Security Issues – Passcodes / Passwords

Creating a Passcode lock on the iPad is an important step in making sure that certain people who do not have permission to access the device, cannot. This should be a password that the student and parents know together. 

5. Preventing damages

Things break. Some more than others and some more so easier than others. However, some are not high end pieces of technology either. Like all technology, it is important that students, and families, follow certain steps to ensure that their device is looked after as best it can be.

From all of the questions and queries that we have had as a college who has implemented a large number of iPad devices already, the majority of the questions asked revolve around the things mentioned above. Below you will find a series of links and resources that will help to give a greater understanding of those above issues and queries!

Once the resource materials have been created by myself, i will be sure to share them all with you as per usual!

Thanks again.

iPad User Manual : Here is the official iPad Manual, all 140 glorious pages of it! As you would expect, this detailed manual covers all relevant information and should be able to answer just about any question from correct operating temperature to switching the keyboard so that you can type in Vietnamese!

Apple’s iPad Support Site : This Apple’s Oficial iPad support site. Once again, a great place for all of of your iPad needs and questions. probably, my first point of call would be this site.

Apple’s iPad Video Collection :  Not really a how to on anything, but here you can view great short video clips that demonstrate the iPads capabilities via its many m,any functions.

http://www.theipadguide.com/ : Here you will find some excellent ‘how to’s’ which will hopefully answer the above questions. This is a very comprehensive site to assist people with their iPad device, as well as cover all other related news to the iPad world!

iPad Academy : A great blog which has been designed to help all people of all ages in setting up and running their iPads effectively. This site posts new information frequently and is more often than not of great assistance!

You Tube : The worlds second largest place to search for information, behind Google of course, is a wealth of how to videos and the like! Simply search for iPad2 Set Up and away you go!

If you know of any other excellent sites, please leave a comment and add it below!

Beaconhills College iPad Rollout

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Last Thursday I had the pleasure of visiting Beaconhills College, in Pakenham, approx 65kms south-east of Melbourne.
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What made this visit special was the fact that Beaconhills College were that week undergoing perhaps one of the largest 1:1 iPad rollouts in the world. Approximately 1,800 iPads were being given to all students throughout the course of the week and i had the chance to witness some very excited kids receive their iPads!

Whenever schools decide to go down the 1:1 path it is always an exciting venture wether the machines involved are netbooks, MacBooks, laptops of another description, iPads or tablet device, and so on… I was keen however to see just how Beaconhills went about their rollout, as it was on such a large scale. The main partner involved in assisting them through this process was Xcite Logic, a firm of ICT experts who assist schools with ICT integration, both in network and technical support, as well as professional learning for staff and leadership.

I had the pleasure of meeting Anita L’Enfant, Xcite’s National Learning and Curriculum Manager. It was great to sit down with Anita and discuss her thoughts on 1:1 integration as well as the iPad being utilised as a device to assist teaching and learning. We also spoke about, and it was great to hear it come from someone like Anita who obviously has a vast and detailed knowledge of teaching and learning, that when schools integrate technology, such as iPads, it is not about the technology, but about the learning and teaching that takes place. As i have previously mentioned, and was also one of the key findings in the DEECD iPads for Learning trial, effective teaching and strong curriculum make all the difference in driving student learning outcomes. The technology is only there to assist as a tool. Obviously however, the better the technology, the greater the tool, the greater outcomes that can possibly occur.

Working in a college that will soon in the next 3 – 5 years become as large as Beaconhills College, yet have all of it’s students on one campus, it was great to see how an iPad Rollout of this size was coordinated and ran.

The rollout involved parents and students picking up their iPads and having to attend an information session which was directed to parents about the setting up of a new iPad. Parents were also taken through some of the more necessary information that perhaps they needed to know about, such as setting restrictions and passcode locks!

The main points that were covered and discussed were the following:

– A Limited iPad demonstration which explained the home screen, finding apps (the swipe and the search function), what the settings allow one to do, how to connect to wi-fi networks and taking screen shots and saving an image.

– How to look after the iPad and explain the most common damages that we see to these devices such as dropping it, screen damage (a good screen protector will assist this), liquid damage, charging issues – turning it off completely when not in use for an extended amount of time and keeping the device in an iPad case.

– Safety and security – keeping usernames and passwords secure for all iPad related details such as wi-fi networks, passcode locks, etc…, ensuring that the notion of school appropriate content is adhered to by making sure they understand that the use of the device is being monitored through school system (in the case Casper Suite) and that inappropriate content will be wiped when in the school’s network. Parents were also reminded that the device is to be used as a tool for learning and failure to comply with the college’s User Agreement will result in the loss of the device (both at home and school). Also that NO photos can be taken without the permission of the person being photographed nor can these be placed online!

The college asked the students who attended to have them create a “First day” video about how they feel about having an iPad, what they look forward to doing with it and how they think it will help assist their learning. A nice little task for the holidays!

All of what i had witnessed definitely got me thinking as I had planned to run very similar sessions for parents of our students this year for next years 1:1 iPad programs, however, as it does, time has certainly gotten away from us and this has not been able to happen. So… I am currently obtaining information that will assist parents and answer questions that they may have regarding the iPad and settings that can be put in place. As usual i will certainly keep you all posted!

It was an absolutely intriguing day and i am thankful to Xcite Logic and Beaconhills College for allowing me to attend a small part of the rollout process and to see such a large rollout in action!

DEECD iPads4Learning Evaluation Day

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Last Friday I had the pleasure of attending the DEECD iPads 4 Learning Evaluation day at the Victorian Art Centre in Melbourne, a day that i had been looking forward to for quite some time.

It was a day designed to share effective iPad integration practices however more so to reflect on using such a device to assist teaching and learning. It was wonderful to hear the stories of the 10 educational settings involved and see how far that they had come in in the 18mth period of the trial. It was just as exciting to hear what these settings were going to do in the year to come in relation to furthering their iPad journeys.

The various educational settings that were involved in the trial certainly gave a wide and varied indication, all of which was greatly positive, in to how a piece of mobile technology can assist student learning. Specialist schools such as Warringa Park (special ed.), The Victorian College for the Deaf and the Royal Children’s Hospital Education Unit gave great insights as to how mobile technology, with a device as simple as an iPad, can go a long way in assisting students with their learning.

So… down to business. Below i have summarised what “I” found to be the key points of the day broken down in to the nominated categories. A lot of information summarised in to a few sentences/paragraphs. An official report to DEECD will be completed and supplied to the ‘powers that be’ relating to the trial and it’s findings. It is a DEECD decision if that report is handed to the trial schools. Those schools involved in the iPad trial however will receive their own individual reports which i am eagerly awaiting!

Here we go…

– The impact that the iPad had on student learning was high.

– The trial proved, as perhaps we all already knew, that the one factor that drove quality teaching, enthusiastic students and engagement in learning throughout the iPad trial, was quality teachers.

– It’s not the device, but they way that teachers are willing to change their pedagogy.

– The iPad as a device supersedes others. It’s portable, robust, not difficult to maintain, intuitive, and easy to use.

– Students, especially in secondary settings, believed that they know more than the teachers in how to use the device. Primary’s thought they were on par with teachers and students in specialist settings believed that the teachers knew more.

– That overall, the iPad made a great difference to a variety of things. Accessing information anywhere and the notion of ‘speed of information’ was a huge positive.

– Students in secondary settings were less enthusiastic about using the iPad as a learning tool in the classroom. That the older the students, the less engaged they were regardless of having an ipad device.

– A very small cohort of parents across the board felt that the use of the iPad was detrimental to their students learning.

– 89% off all students across the 10 schools felt that the iPad made learning fun.

– The most common activities that the iPads were used for were the following: Finding Information, Presenting, Communication, and Multimedia.

– The primary students stated that they used the devices outside of the classroom. The secondary students, not so much.

– The iPad as learning tool shone when assisting students with special needs, such as verbal and physical disabilities.

– The iPad assisted students to collaborate with others outside of their class and school setting.

– Students who utilised email as a main way to communicate with teachers also were found to share what they had created to other teachers, not just their own.

So as you have just read… a lot of great outcomes! At the end of the day is the question of “Does the iPad have the capacity to enhance and support student learning?”, in short, YES. Schools, colleges, universities and the like would not be moving towards towards mobile technology if there were no benefits. The money would not be being invested in to this type of technology if it were not worthwhile.

The outcomes of the trial also picked up on several key indicators that need to occur in school settings if new technology integration is to take place successfully. Where all of the above is less likely to be successful is here:

– The divide between primary learning and secondary learning are very real.

– The capacity for cross curriculum teaching needs to be greater.

– The logistical set up and infrastructure of colleges needs to be in place.

– Leadership support and understanding needs to be in place.

– Technical support.

– Parental support and encouragement.

– Students involved and support the use of the device.

As i have already touched upon, there appeared to be a divide as to how the iPads were being used in primary as opposed to secondary settings. Something that came out of the evaluation was that secondary students wanted to be using the device more often in classes. As was discussed, secondary students do follow a different model of teaching than their primary counter parts. Different subjects, different teachers. If those teachers of varied subjects are not onboard, then the iPad as a tool to assist student learning would be hindered.

One key theme that i did notice, that perhaps was not directly mentioned in a lot of detail, yet was a common theme of schools and teachers shifting their thinking away from planning around the device, to rather integrating it in to everyday curriculum. A real positive and in my eyes, how it should be! The device is a tool, not the be all and end all of student learning.

A big day with a lot of information! Hopefully you’ve found some use or relevant information from my ramblings!

Would love to hear your thoughts!

Visit X 2

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This week we had the pleasure of hosting two great schools, both from quite different backgrounds, yet both sharing a common teaching understanding. That being using the power of mobile technology to empower student learning.

Woolsthorpe Primary School and Ballarat Secondary College are both going through the process of  integrating, and already have to an extent, Mobile Technology as a tool to assist student learning. The power that mobile technology brings to the hands of students is extremely rich and relevant in todays world of students who are rely very heavily on technology use.

From what we ourselves have witnessed from being involved in the DEECD iPads for Learning Trial, it was great to share our story and journey with two schools, which as i have said, are very different yet also share that love of technology integration.

When we host visiting schools one thing that is always discussed are the issues that arise from moving away from either traditional technology and towards devices that foster a more personal approach. Issues such as;

– Poor wireless set ups and infrastructure that cannot handle a large amount of wireless devices.

– Either a lack of technical support or not enough.

– iPads being used as a shared device rather than a personal one, hence multiple user issues.

– iPads being seen as a consumption device only and not a powerful creative tool, as they are!

– Hesitation form staff in schools to utilse and learn new technology and embrace what it can do.

– And… as always… costs associated with embedding new the technology.

I am sure that many other schools have similar if not completely different issues that have arisen from implementing iPads in to their settings. Another issue that springs to mind is no volume licensing for applications in Australia, meaning that paid app’s for the ipad need to be purchased once per every device being used. And, if a lot of schools are, looking at managing the devices themselves, then this can be a real, and costly, issue. Another argument as to why i, and my college, support a BYOD model, but that’s a whole another story! 😉

From the many mini discussions had from this weeks visits it was pleasing to hear that both Woolsthorpe, a school of 90 odd (not ‘odd’ as in… different… 😉 kids to Ballarat SC with a little more over 1000, if my dodgy memory serves me correctly, that both were well on the way, with very supportive staff, to implementing iPads as a teaching and learning tool.

Whilst typing this post out the front of the Victorian Arts Centre, wondering where i have to go to attend the iPads for Learning Evaluation day hosted by DEECD, i am greatly looking forward to seeing and hearing the stories from those other schools involved in the trial. Also, to hear the what the independent evaluators have to say about the trial and what they found!

Anyway. I will be sure to keep all posted about the findings of todays meeting/professional learning session. And… I am also very keen to see the continuation of mobile technology integration at Woolsthorpe PS and Ballarat SC and to hear how their journey pans out.

Thanks.

Preps 'n' 'Pads

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Yesterday along with one of our Prep Teachers I had the opportunity to visit Mitcham Primary School, in Melbourne’s Eastern suburbs.

Mitcham PS is a mid sized primary school with approximately 400 students. They run a 1:1 iPad program in Prep and are currently looking to expand that to Prep-2 in 2012. In addition to this Mitcham will also be running a 1:1 Netbook in their 3-6 areas, meaning that essentially the entire school will be 1:1. They also have a great deal of IWB’s located around the school as well as touch screens tv’s.

The focus for our visit was to witness first hand the outstanding things that they are doing in relation to integrating mobile technology, in this case iPads, in to their cohort of prep classes. As we will be running a Prep 1:1 iPad program ourselves in 2012, we wanted to see the preps at Mitcham in action, and that is exactly what we did!

Whilst there we spent the morning talking with their leading teacher, Andrew, about their process of integrating iPads in to teaching and learning practices. Bev, one of the schools innovative prep teachers, allowed us in to het room whilst her little ones were busily working away. It was outstanding to witness the prep students using their iPads in class and to see first hand just how the devices were being used.

To see the preps being able to navigate through the device, to select app’s, and to utilise the features of the app’s to create a piece of work was outstanding. In a nutshell, the preps were investigating particular letter sounds and blends. They were sequencing shorts stories that contained these sounds, for example everyones favourite, Jack and Jill, and then were utilising the iPad device to illustrate the story, in order or what occurred, and then then retell what was happening in each picture via recording their voices.

Obviously, the focus and learning intention for this lesson was the letter sound and blend formations. However it was the process that was the interesting part for us. To see the students, aged 4 and 5, manipulating a piece of mobile technology and using several app’s (Doodle Buddy and Story Robe just to name two), all to create a narrated story, that they had illustrated themselves, was fantastic.

It’s always interesting to hear people mention that the iPad are a ‘consuption’ device. Yesterday was a pure example of how that is/was not the case!

A huge thanks to Andrew and Bev for their hospitality and time. It was greatly appreciated and extremely helpful! Keep up the outstanding work!

A Great Day Out!

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This Tuesday our 6 students ventured off to Serendip Sanctuary, which is located in Lara, south west of Melbourne. The map is below!
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The sanctuary provides safe habitat for local and international wildlife, this being mainly migratory birds, however a number of other fascinating animals can also be witnessed such as kangaroos and reptiles.

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The students have recently been investigating an inquiry unit around deforestation and the effects that this can have on the environment and visiting the kids in class yesterday it was great to see them utilising their iPad’s to reflect and share their learning.

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Students had been asked upon return, to create a presentation of their excursion demonstrating what they had learnt, using an App and or medium of their choice. It was also fantastic to witness several students opting to NOT use the devices and take a more hands on approach! The student’s presentation types were mixed across the class and ranged from Keynote presentations, animations, created songs and raps as well as using a combination of App’s to create what it was that they wanted. Several of the more popular app’s were Reed Director, Strip Designer, Show Me, Screen Chomp, Popplet, and Corkulous.

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One issue, quickly resolved by some very quick thinking, was how to share the photo’s that were taken by teachers and get these on to the iPad’s. The photos unfortunately were too large for a file-sharing site such as Dropbox and yes, they could have been sized, yet, this was another step in a process that I am sure everyone wanted to see eliminated from the process. Anyway… the answer, Flickr! One staff member created a Flickr account, which had all photos uploaded to it. The account login details were then shared amongst the students so that they could access the account via their iPad’s and… access and save the photos to their devices!

Once the students have completed their presentations i’ll aim to get several up here for you all to see!

iPad Evaluators Visit

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This morning we had a fabulous visit with Jacqui Phillips from I & J Management, who is the Independent Evaluator organisation, assisting DEECD with the evaluation of the current ‘iPads for Learning Trial’.

It was great to hear from Jacqui her thoughts on the iPad Trial and the iPad as a learning device. We discussed the path that schools were taking in moving towards 1:1 technology, their choices in choosing specific devices to run with in their settings as well as my… interest/confusion as to why iPads were not supported as part of the NSSCF. It had not escaped the attention of Jacqui, nor I, that more and more schools and colleges were heading down the iPad path and integrating these devices in to their teaching and learning practices.

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The one constant that was discussed at length, was the overall importance of teaching and the impact that this had on delivering rich and relevant learning to students in a 1:1 setting, (no matter the device used). Giving students a piece of technology to use solely on a daily/hourly basis to facilitate their learning is not the be all and end all of improving student learning outcomes. The main factor for this, as it always has been, is the quality teaching that takes place. It is imperative that teachers realise the importance of planning a teaching and learning curriculum that aims to embed technology in to it, rather than planning a curriculum around a specific device.

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So… what did Jacqui and I witness whilst wandering through our 1:1 iPad area? We witnessed, and i am sure (hope) that Jacqui agrees, a lot of excellent examples of quality teaching taking place and the use of 1:1 Mobile Technology to compliment what was being taught.

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During the students writing block, it was awesome to see the students accessing their classes wiki via a wikispaces account and seeing what tasks they were expected to complete. From here the students were involved in Writers Notebook, which required students to find and view photographs and images relating to Refugees (as it is Refugee Week). Once students found their images they then were asked to record specific words they felt related to that image, as well as write down their feelings about what they were looking at. It was impressive to see the students using a combination of technology via their iPads and more traditional recording methods for the students writing their answers via pen and paper.

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In reading the students were investigating the importance of note taking, in particular taking ‘skinny notes’ as well as being aware of issue’s surrounding the important concept of plagiarism. The students were asked to find an article of their choice online, (though they were directed to www.knowmag.ca/knowitalls/ a great Science based website for students to access as it discuss a wide range of science based topics).

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The Yr 6’s were then instructed to take ’skinny notes’ on that article by recording down what they thought were the key words and concepts, just as had been previously modelled by their teachers. Students used various app’s to take their skinny notes such as Notes, Keynote, Corkulous, and Popplet, which was great to see.

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The conversations that were also held with the students, having them articulate what it was that they were doing as well as explaining their work and learning was fantastic. We look forward to having Jacqui back to visit later on during the year to conduct and research more  evaluation results for the DEECD iPads for Learning Trial.

DEECD iPad Trial Evaluators Visit

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Last Friday we had the pleasure of hosting Jacqui from I & J Management Services, who are the organisation that have been hired by the Department of Education to evaluate the DEECD iPads for Learning Trial. It was a pleasure to sit down with Jacqui and hear what the evaluation for the trial involved. It was great to hear that the emphasis of the trail was being placed in the iPad as a learning device rather than the individual schools involved.

We discussed that the iPad as a teaching and learning device to assist learning and teaching programs could not be questioned however the big key question that needed to be answered was that do the iPad improve and drive student learning outcomes. As a College we need to assist the evaluators in answering this question. How do we do about this? When asking the students if they believe that the iPad assists their learning we get a yes out of their mouths before the question has been asked! Obviously due to the fact the students are thriving on using the iPad’s in class and that their would be a small civil war if they were to be taken away, for any reason.

Another one of the big questions to be answered, as stated by the DEECD iPads for Learning Website: “What have been the impacts of using iPads to support learning for students, teachers and parents?” We discussed this question on all fronts and listed a number of impacts, both positive and negative, that we had come across so far in the trial. The biggest cohort that has been impacted by far were the students. The engagement that has come out of the trial has been by far the most notable aspect. There is zero doubt that the iPads as a learning mobile device have increased student engagement. But just how have they affected student learning? Will we have seen a positive shift in the learning that has taken place within classrooms. Do parents feel that the iPad for a learning device is a worthwhile investment for the College to make? Do our Tech’s feel that the iPads can be sufficiently managed? Questions, questions, questions! But, that is part of a trial. Being able to evaluate and answer these questions as best we can to make a consistent judgement about the iPad being a useful device to be implemented for teaching and learning purposes.

On the back of the discussions that were held with Jacqui, we then ventured off to see the iPads in action, but alas, Yr 6 Sport! No iPads in action! Michelle, our Yr 6 Team Leader explained several of the outstanding things that were occurring in the Yr 6 team in relation to the iPads being a rich and relevant learning tool. From the photo attached to the top of this post you can see one of the great initiatives that the teachers in Yr 6 are implementing! And, I am pleased to say… there are many more ideas to come from the fantastic staff in the Yr 6 area! Thank you Michelle, James, Mel and Cat for being so accommodating throughout the last week!

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