Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I have been a teacher for 8 years at Davyhulme Primary School. After successfully implementing the use of iPads across the school, I started providing training for other schools looking at the best ways to utilise technology to enhance teaching and learning across the curriculum.
How long have you been using iPads in the classroom?
We are now in our 3rd year of using iPads in the classroom.
How do you convert those teachers that are less enthused by the use of mobile technology?
I try to show real life examples where iPads and other tools have had an impact on children's learning in different ways. When teachers see how it can be used to engage, enthuse and inspire children, they tend to want to learn themselves.
What's your number one piece of advise for schools looking to invest in iPads for the first time?
Get teachers on board. I try to encourage schools to start by buying teachers an iPad so they can build their own confidence. Also investing in CPD to demonstrate the best way to utilise the device.
What is your opinion on BYOD? Do you think these schemes are viable options?
On the surface it seems a good idea and one I think is more tailored to Secondary schools. I haven't had any real experience so can't comment too much but think having a clear vision as a school and making sure policies are in place to make it work well.
You share a lot of great lesson ideas via your blog, is there one project you're particularly proud of above all?
It would have to be the Blackfish project we did over a year ago! The reaction and the impact it had on the children's writing was phenomenal! Still a year on we get messages and letters about what the children did.
You also have a school blog, tell us a bit about the role that plays in providing a platform for multimedia work by students.
For our school it is simple, we wanted to make sure everything the children were making on the iPads could be evidenced, showcased and shared. When this is done through a school blog you give the children an audience for their work outside the classroom and this has had an immediate impact of the quality of work the children create. The same applies with children's written work. Blogging and web tools are another training package I offer schools.
Let's play 'desert island apps' - if you could only ever use one app in the classroom ever again, what would you choose?
Tough one! There are so many apps I love but I think it would be between Explain Everything, Book Creator and iMovie. Three core apps that can be used in any curriculum area! Probably the one, at a push, would be Explain Everything! A MUST HAVE for any iPad classroom.
Yep, that's what we'd choose! Do you agree that it's crucial for educators to look for apps to create content with students rather than just absorb it?
I find that the best way is to combine the two. There are a great range of apps that can really engage children and inspire them to write and solve problems. The camouflage learning technique is an example of that which is explained on my blog. Using an engaging stimulus can then inspire the children to be incredibly creative using the iPad and allows them to create content in a variety of ways demonstrating learning in interesting ways that promote a range of skills in the children.
Your ebook series has been really well received. What has inspired the particular themes of each book?
I have been astounded by the reaction! The latest book - The 12 iPad lessons of Christmas, was the third best selling eBook on the iBooks store on the first day of release! The themes are really topics that I have used in class and ones that will hopefully be enjoyed by the children when you deliver the lessons.
Can the lessons in the ebooks be easily transposed to other topics?
Absolutely, that is the point. Every lesson in all three books can be adapted to any other topic. I wrote the books to try and demonstrate different apps and ideas to enhance what can be done on paper and allow children to be creative in sharing their understanding and learning.
What's next for you?
I am continuing to provide training nationwide and beyond! I have a book due for release within the next month or so - 50 iPad lesson for Exciting Sentences which has been co-written with the great Alan Peat. Along with the training and still working in school, I have a few other writing projects in the pipeline.
What's the best way for our readers to keep up to date with what you're up to?
Lee it's been a pleasure as always. Having experienced your training first hand, we can definitely say it's one of the most well-delivered, informative and fun iPad sessions out there and we highly recommend it to anyone lucky enough to get the chance to take part.