Friday, July 13, 2012

Learning isn't about the Apps

If we are to get the most for student learning from mobile technology like the iPad or other tablets we need to move beyond the question 'Is there an App for that?'

 A worthwhile blog post to read, for moving beyond a focus on Apps is 'How can the iPad Transform Classroom Learning?' Ben Johnson postulates a few examples of using the iPad in learning and ends with a key question we should all consider:
"The lesson planning questions I hope my teachers will learn to ask will change from "How can I teach this content?" to, "How can I get students to learn this content?" I hope they will answer this question with open-ended learning activities rather than saying, "I have an app for that."

The latest research from a school is a study on the use of iPads at the Longfield Academy in Kent England, where a large scale 1 to 1 iPad program was implemented last year. This comprehensive 56 page report 'iPads as a tool for education' provides a lot of good pointers to how we can and should be using iPads.  Teacher asked to discuss how the use of the iPad in the classroom has impacted their teaching offered points like this:
'More student centred approach, more group work activities, more student led plenaries and activities'
'I have started to create electronic textbooks which aim to focus individual students on the GSCE tasks they need to complete. This sort of tailored curriculum was simply impossible before the introduction of the iPad'

However a key thing that came from this research is that students want to use the iPads in more ways than they have been given; to use them more in Art, PE, Maths, to make videos, create presentations, develop games etc.

The Longfield report also references our Parramatta research results from the iPad trial in 2010 produced by Patrick Barrett from the Learning Exchange team.

Some good posts to consider as you embark on any venture towards a 1 to 1 iPad implementations:
 'Is the iPad the correct tool to aid learning in education from The Innovative Scholar blog looks at the main issues schools need to consider. Referred to in this article is "Launching an iPad 1 to 1 program - a primer': a comprehensive step by step implementation plan.

A useful school example to look at and possibly connect with is the ESSA Academy in Bolton.  See images of their students using iPads to observe and analyse sport performances here.
Read more about one educators visit to ESSA here: 'It's not just about the technology.. although it must help'. His comments: 'The vision and the Eco-system [at ESSA] are not just about the Tech – ...the technology [and it started with the iPod Touches] was introduced to overcome barriers to learning; to help engage the learners and transform their learning. 

It's not about the Apps, the iPad or the technology - it's about the learning.

1 comment:

  1. "How can I get students to learn this content?"

    And then on to "How can I get students to learn the skills they will need, to learn about learning, and to transfer the content, skills, and metaunderstanding to new situations?"

    Digging Deeper: