Transforming Teaching and Learning

Interestingly, this subject is something very personal for me.  The school my daughter attends offered an iPad class for her prep entry, and it was upto parents to nominate whether their child would be considered for the BYO iPad class.  As an educator, it wasn’t a decision I took lightly, and considered many things when making the decision.

Firstly, I considered the benefit to being a part of something quite groundbreaking- while it wouldn’t be a perfected system, there would be opportunities for me as an educator to be a part of something I will probably need to use and integrate as an educator, and see this from the perspective of a parent.  Looking at how this class would change the way we discuss/reflect and quiz my daughter about her schooling through the use of photos, videos and presentations she makes on the iPad.

It never concerned me that she wouldn’t do enough writing, as I am well aware that the Australian Curriculum still requires these elements to be taught, assessable and evidential.  I was however concerned that she would become so wrapped up in the technology that her rough and tumble, gross motor, role play activities would become extinct, and we know that this is vital to neurological development (see an article from Doug Imig of Urbanchild to regarding this here).  I raised my concerns with the Principal, and the he assured me the children would never be on the iPad more than 70% of the day.

I imagined the use of the iPad to support classroom collaborations, such as math games that would normally be played on an interactive whiteboard, being used as a class, collectively, enabling differentiation – one student who is struggling has more opportunities to repeat the activity if required, while another can move up to the next level.  One example is the game I’ve seen used in prep (below) called “Ladybird Spot Total“; usually students would do this in the classroom using the interactive whiteboard, taking it in turns.  Activities like this could provide better differentiation by allowing students to complete the activity independently with self correction, or in pairs, collaborating.

LadybirdToday, however, I had my daughter’s eyes checked and the optometrist (who specialises in  children’s behavioural optometry) gasped when I told her my daughter was in an iPad class.  “Why?!” she said.  I had this instant thought that I did the wrong thing by agreeing to send my child to the BYO iPad class.  “What have I done?” I sat silently while miss 4’s eyes were tested and contemplated my decision.

Then I came home and as I write this I’m reminded that while I’m not 100% sure that the iPad class will provide better opportunities for differentiation and opportunities to excel, I do believe that it can.  The difference you see, is up to the educator.

As with any educational resource, how it is used is up to the educator.  Do you want to use a resource because it’s pretty, sounds good, or makes life easier, or do you want to use a resource (and I mean ANY resource – not just ICT) because it can transform the learning of students in your class?  This slideshow (Tranformative use of iPads) inspires me to think about opportunities to transform learning, and specifically through the use of various ICTs.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Emma
    Mar 10, 2014 @ 15:49:37

    Hello Lisa!
    Thanks for sharing the ‘Ladybird Spot Total’ game. It’s always good to have one more (free) resource up your sleeve!
    I completely agree with you that separate devices for students could help in differentiating learning. An electronic whiteboard is good for demonstrating to students how a program/app is used. However, all students can not fully participate in using one. I tried playing a maths game on an electronic whiteboard with a whole class during my last prac. I found that while some students remained engaged while waiting their turn, others totally switched off. Devices for every student would have come in handy!
    Emma.

    Reply

  2. mariakaffatou
    Mar 13, 2014 @ 11:35:05

    As with all ICT’s around the house there are health and safety issues that need to be taken into account. Esspecially as educators we need to seriously consider these and in the case of using an ipad for example, maybe limmiting the ammount of time spent on it…..??

    Reply

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