I have long since been an advocate of digital innovation in the classroom and in particular iPads for the simple fact that they offer something to the students in a simple form that can unlock their real potential. In particular they give students the opportunity to be creative with their learning and so engage them in the process.
I am now teaching ICT as part of my timetable (a great experience to further develop myself as a teacher can I add) and one thing I am finding is that having a computer room to teach in feels really limiting. I spent the summer being inspired by other ADE’s and reading many blogs about 21st Century teaching and really want to be embedding that in my practice. Having a suite of PCs in the room means that I have access to the usual input and output devices and the learning feels really stagnant. Now I am not saying that this is the fault of the department. they have in fact created some great resources to help teach with and excellent activities for the students to do, but, they are still fixed to computers. Lets face it, the world has moved on from fixed desktop computers and maybe its time that schools did the same.
So what would I want instead? If money were no object? (If only)
I would want a mix of devices so that students could use a variety of ways to create things. I spent some of my free sessions today developing our Literacy in Sport board. i used my iPad and Phoster app to make a poster, then the Layar programme on my Macbook to turn that poster into an Augmented Reality, interactive poster. Finally I printed it out and tested that it worked with an iPod in the corridor of the sportshall. In all I used a few devices to create something that could be used to benefit others. This is what I want to teach to students. The creating of this simple idea forced me to learn loads of new things, things i would not have thought I could do, but because it was fun and I had a sense that it would be viewed by many people, I didn’t even feel I was learning, I was just achieving.
I would love students to have iPads in school as it allows for the creativity to become the focus and the curriculum to come to life. It may not always be possible for a 1:1 programme but to have access to some, to allow students to experience the devices that are being used all the time in “the real world” seems a logical step.
I will endeavour to try to be creative with the teaching thanks to the rich resources on offer but I know the potential there could be with just a few devices.