We have been really enjoying this unit of work with the new technology of iPads in our school. Its amazing how quickly you adjust your lessons to incorporating this tool and start to think of new ways to use the iPads in other lessons.
Participants in our Team- we have 4 people in our team. Our Principal, Betty Ploeg, is overseeing our project and finding the necessary funds in our school budget to buy more resources as the project continues. Julie Torney and Sarah McClean are our Year 6 teachers who are teaching the unit of work and working with the iPads in the classroom, and Jane Egginton, our Teacher Librarian, is also teaching part of the unit in the Library with all of Stage 3 using the iPads and computers. Jane is also using the iPads with Year 3, a Year 1 class and a Kinder class, incorporating the technology into their library lessons.
Self Assessment – Throughout our unit of work, the team have always tried to evaluate what we are teaching, why we are teaching and how we are teaching. We have constantly tried to keep the Quality Teaching Framework in our heads so that we crosscheck the tasks we have planend to see if it will provide the best learning for the students. For example, I used the App Skitch on the iPads with 2 Stage 3 classes for our mapping task with the Murray Darling River, and even though the App was fun and engaging, the app was too fiddly and time consuming for the task at hand – we would have been better off using a paper map or a different app. From that lesson, I chose not to teach that App with 2 other Stage 3 classes and we went down a differetn track.
Google Docs – We have tried to use Google Docs to collaborate but it proved too difficult. Two of our team members are having difficulty logging in to Google Docs and so we have not used that system to share information. Instead we have done lots of talking, planning together and emailing.
Key Changes to technology infrastructure – The project team have been teaching with the iPads in a wireless environment – so far , we have 3 blocks wireless. After an initial hiccup with the wireless being very intermittent, we have had no problems in the last week and a half since the server problem got fixed by the IT department. This had made a huge difference to our lessons, as we are now not wasting time trying to log on etc, and the wireless has been very quick and reliable. We have also bought the program licence Relector for 5 PCs which has enabled us to reflect our iPads up to our IWBs very quickly every lesson, for modelling and sharing purposes.
Our team are concious of Stage 2 in our school, who have wireless in their block but have not utilised this as yet in their teaching. The teachers are keen to see what is happening with the project in our school, and after teaching with the class teachers in the library using the iPads, they are quickly becoming enthusiastic. This project has highlighted the need for a slight change in our TPL planning with technology, to go from some TPL sessions showing ideas, to also incorporating some collaborative planning and teaching with class teachers that have not used the iPads before. The project team will be used next term to work with the teachers in their classroom in regards to planning and teaching with the technology.
Work samples – Below are some work samples with Stage 3, using Apps Skitch and Idea Sketch. We also used Flipboard.
We found the App Idea Sketch really good for mind maps, plus it was a free App. The Skitch App was also good, but a bit fiddly to get the right lines etc. Flipboard, a magazine app where you ‘flip’ web links into a magazine has been fantastic as a base for researching.
Our team’s progress…. enjoying the flow on effect with Year 1, Year 3 and Year 5/6