Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Accelerating Learning With I-Pads

I used to be a bit hesitant about the use of I-Pads in classrooms and decided that I needed to explore the place of these machines and the hype that they have created. For the past 3 terms, I have been exploring their potential, reading blog posts, observing other schools developing their use and I have participated in many conversations, even the odd debate... I even purchased my own I-Pad so that I could play and develop my philosophy as to how these might fit into the classroom.

The short version of this story, is that we have recently begun our journey with I-Pads. We are currently at the stage of implementing I-Pads into our programmes. We were incredibly fortunate to access funding for 12 I-Pads in our school as part of our inquiry into accelerating learning of targeted maths groups. The funding also includes Teacher Aide time. These programmes are currently being developed with our junior and middle children for an hour everyday.

I still wonder about the impact this programme will have on accelerating learning. We have carefully selected apps to practise specific learning intentions and are regularly monitoring student outcome. However, will the practice be transferable? Will this form of practice lead to the children actually learning? Will some children just keep practising getting it wrong? For us, I don't think the latter will be the case as the provision of Teacher Aide time allows for meaningful conversations with the children and some reflection time about how they are going.

Meanwhile, these target programmes are only being run an hour a day for four days a week. This means we have 12 I-Pads to access for regular classroom use. The potential creativity that they offer is my real area of interest...  I am keen to hear any stories about I-Pads being used in the classrooms.

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