To start with the title of the post is a reference to Obi Wan in Star Wars but there are no mind tricks in what the post is about.
Students at the University of South Wales are quickly becoming leaders in how technology can support learning and more than this they are taking on the role of leaders as they look to share their research and practice in the schools that they are training in.
During their studies they are exposed to a range of technology but more than that they are tasked with thinking about the pedagogy behind the apps and hardware. Why use it? What impact will it have? How does it support other areas of learning?
Back in October they were introduced to the Apple Teacher programme, a development programme that supports individuals in their knowledge of using Apple technology in the classroom, it comprises teaching guides and support material with the option to take a short exam to gain a badge, once 8 badges are collected, you become an Apple Teacher.
In January the programme launched in the U.K and as such the students have taken it upon themselves to use the guides to gain their badges. At present we have 7 students that have become Apple Teachers.
Here is some feedback from the students themselves.
Scott Hann, Year 1 student, BA Primary Studies
The guides are written with a consistent structure flowing through each one, meaning you can pick up any guide and easily find the section you need.
Finding information is not difficult due to the hyperlinks on the content page.
The problem I often have with guides is that reading the theory alone can can often make it difficult to picture how you would apply it to a real life scenario. The Apple Teacher guides address this by actually guiding you through the process of creating something, for example the Numbers Guide talks through the creation of the Butterfly Investigation Lab Report, including a simple table, checklist and pie chart. Seeing this come together makes it much easier for me to understand how I could use this in other projects in future.
The addition of interactive functions within the guides adds real value to what you are reading. For example, within the Garage Band Guide you can listen to sound clips of what you’re supposed to be creating, to check that you’re on the right lines. Many of the pages have windows you can swipe through to see the progression of the stages you are following. All of these functions add a great deal of support on just one single page.
The process of taking the test online is also very simple and easy to access, with a smooth transition between the different sections.
Jonathan Rowe, Year 1, BA Primary Studies
I found apple teacher to be an enriching experience. The Apple Teacher Starter Guides would be great to learn the basics but as I have been using them for years I found the online help pages to be more useful. I found the interactive quizzes to be responsive and enough of a challenge that I wanted to complete them. I liked the badge system as it was a good way to track and share my progress. To be an apple teacher is something that I will take pride in going forward.
Students have also been out on placement and have been looking at utilising their university study to implement the use of technology in school. This is really starting to highlight how our students are becoming real leaders in the range of digital competence, students are leading on the use of virtual reality to inspire learners, creating eBooks as an alternative to writing responses in books and using Bloxels to support literacy development.
The days of trainees going to school to learn how to teach are changing, we already have students working in full partnership with schools to learn new skills but also share their new found knowledge.
Check out this post by one of our Year 2 students Laura
Follow us on twitter @BAPrimaryUSW
Like I said, these are the students you are looking for!