Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Conversation Moves On...

So, the iPad.

Yes it's great. A beautiful device on which you can do so much in school. From blending traditional materials with the digitals world in art, to creating music in new and wonderful ways, re-inventing the textbook and breaking down the artificial barriers between subjects and curricular areas - it's really changed the game.

But we all know that now right?

What happens next?

I think, as a teacher of some four years experience in this 'new world' that the conversation is now getting really interesting.

Once we have come to terms with the technology, realised that it is really not about how many apps you have, and begun to integrate some of the creative workflows that the iPad makes possible into our teaching - what then?

I think there are two frontiers that are now on the horizon.

Firstly, the structures and processes, not just of the classroom but of the school - how does this new technology permeate the environments and administration of our schools and classes? From workflows for distributing course content and marking to storage of files of various types and sharing this content with stakeholders such as governors, inspectors and parents, this is an area that is an interesting one and, in my opinion, has still to be 'sorted' in a way that is innovative and game-changing the way that the device has been in the classroom in teaching and learning.

Secondly, content.

Our curriculum materials are still outdated and fail to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the iPad. We are still fitting the technology to our existing frameworks and materials and only now starting to develop and create content that is specifically designed to take advantage of the 1:1 environment.

In my classroom we are working with new materials developed in the Netherlands by Leonardo Education called 'Journey Through the World of Knowledge'. These are curriculum materials designed around 'un-googlable' questions. Designed to work seamlessly with 1:1 technology and compliant with iTunesU which I am finding a slightly unexpected success in the primary school.

This, accompanied by my 'Reflection Booth' for video assessment, 'Aurasma' for bringing my classroom walls to life with fantastic video rich content, and the success and popularity of the digital report card on iBooks, is what is exciting me now.

Thanks, as always, to this lovely piece of glass that we call iPad for bringing all these questions to life and forcing us to take a rethink of how it all works.

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