Last Wednesday (8th March) I attended a ‘Learning with iPad’ session at the Essa Academy in Bolton, organised by MCC.
After an introduction from the Keynotes: Essa and the Bolton School about the Essa Academy and Bolton School technological journeys, we then went into different workshops. The choices were varied from the technical side with coding with swift and iPad deployment workshops to the softer skills sets with Apple Teacher and Assessment and Feedback with the iPad.
Due to personal time restrictions on the day I could only attend the initial Keynote and 2 of the workshop sessions.
Keynote: Introduction to the Schools
The introduction to both schools showed how iPads could be effectively integrated in very different schools (funding differences, student backgrounds, socio-economic areas etc)
The Essa Academy had effectively redefined their use of technology rather than substituted it, much like the SAMR model. They had classed it as transforming the teaching and learning rather than translating it.
They used technology to create consistency and transparency. Essa swapped their old VLE for iTunesU. This change was more redefinition rather than substitution due to the cultural change in regards to how to use iTunesU rather than an off the shelf VLE, being less of a repository and more of a learning space to assess and feedback to students.
The online resources within iTunesU became interactive iBooks with multimedia resources within them, rather than the traditional PDFs, PowerPoints and Word Documents. They then integrated apps like Showbie to integrate assessment and feedback. It all threaded through and blended into the learning.
The Bolton School also used iTunesU (as a student resource and for teaching lesson cover) and had blended the technology within the older setting of their school. The focus was more on the psychological framework for pedagogy to apply technology to fit within that, and building the digital competency and literacy of the teachers.
Within this on the development of the digital resources was less on the polished look of resources and more on the students creating their own resources to revise and be assessed and fed back on. Again they used a similar system with what apps they used and how they used them.
Both schools share best practice with each other and learn effective ways of using technology to enhance learning and teaching.
Session 1: Apple Teacher
This session opened my eyes to the wealth of information available at appleteacher.apple.com in relation to how to use Apple apps and technology. Like the microsoft.edu innovators project which is specific to Microsoft technology, Apple Teacher acts as bitesized CPD which can be done in the tutors own time. Again like the Mircosoft.edu course it offers badges, so you can see who has done which training to allow for peer to peer support. For example if Jo Blogs is great with Keynote but I’m not as confident, I can always go to Jo for some tips and pointers on how they use it.
We were also shown the apps Pages (multimedia document app) and Keynote (presentation app) and given examples of how they were used to gain a context to how Apple Teacher can take the app knowledge and use a step further.
Pages – Task designed for students to create a resource/poster on a specific topic, using multimedia (images, audio, video etc) to show subject knowledge.
Keynote – Task get students to design a presentation on a specific topic to present to the class using multimedia resources (such as videos, or creating their own animations to explain the subject i.e how atoms move)
The knowledge and passion of the presenter reflected the positive difference that technology could make to the students and staff. Engaging learners and saving staff time.
Session 2: Assessment and Feedback
This session was mainly practical and based on delegate participation. The first part of the session was aimed at briefly understanding the pedagogy of using technology and digitising Assessment and Feedback.
The apps demonstrated in the more practical side of the session were:
Kahoot – A fun way to quiz students based on speed and knowledge. Students can retake the same kahoot in ghost mode and almost compete against themselves.
Socrative – Tutor gets instant analytics of how individual students within the group are doing, so you can see strengths and weaknesses.
Showbie – A great way of showing feedback, as it can be given in audio and visual annotation forms.
From the whole day it was amazing to see how the schools had successfully implemented iPads in their educational institutes. However for an F.E college whose funding is different and are not completely Apple, nor Microsoft based, and who can’t supply 1:1 devices for students, the only things to successfully take away from such an inspiring day is how the apps are used and ‘app smashed’ together to work effectively. This in itself is a brilliant thing to take away. I would suggest to attend as many sessions to do with iPads and tablets as possible, you never know which new app or new way of using the same app you’ll find!