Man, it's been some year!
Today we are being visited by a delegation of interested educationalists from Switzerland and Holland, to talk about 1:1 iPad, unsurprisingly. They will leave impressed with the difference that the integration of an incredible tool has made to our school this year.
Hopefully they will not miss the fact that the iPad itself does not form half of the story. Surrounding and supporting the device, willing it to work and straining to wring every drop of innovation and creativity from it's sleek, shiny form, there is a whole lot of people working hard. Very hard.
Don't anyone be fooled that transformation with iPad comes easy. The device will happily sit unused on a desk or in a cupboard, it won't shout 'There's a better way to do this!' or even, 'Wait! There's an app for that!' it needs coaxing, it needs to feel wanted, to be used.
A teacher needs to give time to discovering the sometimes hidden depths of the App store, to integrating sound pedagogy and curriculum outcomes with new apps and ideas. Some work, some don't. You have to refuse the temptation to use the iPad as an educational soother - to keep the kids quiet and give you an easy life. You have to integrate digital work and ideas with 'get out of your seat' activities which stimulate the body and mind. You must consider records and storage, where to keep files that students produce and how to assess them. How you mark and give student feedback must also be considered, along with coming up with classroom use rules for the sudden appearance of the internet in the hands of every child.
Perhaps above all, the teacher has to learn to analyse the heady 'eureka' moments where you suddenly have a 'great idea' for another way the iPad could help do something really great ('Let's start an iPad band!,' 'I could do the report card as an ePub!'). Remember: these don't just happen, even in iPad land, they require a whole lot of... yup... work.
These are just the start. If you're not prepared for all this, keep your money for new textbooks, stay comfortable where you are and plan your summer holiday.
Hang on, maybe I could give the kids access to the class blog to post over the holidays...
...maybe next year!
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