What is your role at school?
My position as Head of ICT focuses on
supporting students in gaining a sound foundation in technology concepts and skills using a range of technology
ensuring vertical and horizontal integration of the technology concepts and skills across primary years
creating awareness and educating students to be responsible digital citizens
support teachers and help in building their confidence in using technology across curricular areas
How important do you feel the use of mobile technology is in education?
Extremely important! Developing confidence in using mobile technology to enhance the teaching and learning is a very important aspect in preparing our students for a life in the 21st century and a future of rapid technological advancements.
How have iPads been deployed at the school?
Initially, back in September 2011, each teacher was assigned an iPad so that they could become familiar with the device, research relevant apps and maintain teacher notes. Then we added a bank of 40 iPads housed in the Library that can be booked and checked out for use in the classroom. In addition there is also set of 8 iPad Minis each in Year 1 and 2 along with 4 each in Foundation Stage 1 & 2. All these iPads are currently being managed through a Lion server which is used to deploy relevant apps. In addition, there is an opportunity for students in Years 4-6 to bring in their own device/iPad (BYOD).
In your opinion what impact have iPads had on teaching and learning?
I would say a tremendous positive impact both for students and teachers. The use of these mobile devices has merged the boundaries between technology use in the computer lab and the classroom. As expected, the opportunity to use iPads during regular lessons has led to enhanced levels of engagement, motivation, creativity and problem solving. Even our reluctant learners seem keener to work on tasks.
Further, as these devices and the apps are particularly intuitive and easy to use, it has been fantastic to see not just the students but the teachers too take to these devices very easily and begin using them creatively for curricular work.
What apps have been particularly well harnessed at school?
From amongst the host of apps that teachers regularly research and trial, I would say the ones that have proved particularly useful so far and have been extensively used across subject areas are Book Creator, iMovie, Skitch and Puppet Pals.
What is next for the school in terms of iPad use?
Having made a very positive impact on teaching and learning from the outset, it would be natural to extend the use of iPads so that they become like any other resource students can turn to for their curricular learning. We plan to achieve this by:
Continuing to merge the boundaries between technology use in the ICT lab and the classroom.
Making available more devices through a combination of new purchases as well as perhaps extending the BYOD policy to Year 3 in addition to Years 4-6.
Ensuring the backbone of WiFi connectivity and safeguards/filters are the best they can be.
Harness the power of the increasing number of apps being developed that enable experiences with programming and coding which is an area of growing significance in technology education.
Developing and planning the curriculum in such a manner that each term there is an interesting project that focuses on the use of relevant apps on the iPads. For instance, in Term 3, teachers in Year 4 decided to pilot this concept by getting the students to present their topic work solely as an eBook using the Book Creator app and of course employing a host of other apps alongside.
Providing regular training and support to staff in the creative use of iPads. In fact, we now have a new post of ‘Creative Curriculum Coordinator’ whose primary role is to enable and embed use of iPads in the curriculum. The ultimate goal is to encourage class teachers to feel confident enough to take responsibility for technology enhanced learning.