ReflectionsFrom: Wendy French
Date: Sun, 13 May 2012 at 12:19pm
I just thought I would share a few thoughts that I have had this week.
One of the things that I realised this week was just how much easier and less stressful having one to one devices that the children have personal ownership of is, than having a set that stay in school. Some of the things that used to cause us problems such as charging (which used to be difficult to manage), storing personal work (the i-pads were often borrowed and it was really difficult to manage getting back the same one to finish off work on), expectations of people who wanted to borrow could sometimes become quite disruptive (yet I wanted other teachers and classes to use them to see the benefits) and having to finish things in class time - have gone.
Learners experimenting at home has fantastic benefits in the classroom. We now know more about what particular apps can and can't do because the children have time to play with them at home. Learning then becomes even more of a partnership because they are teaching each other and me. I still provide the focus in their set tasks, with negotiation, at times, on topic and method of presentation but they are also experimenting freely with what interests them. Lots of them are really interested in i-Movie trailers, which they are working on collaboratively and which help to develop a number of skills including, planning, negotiating, thinking about genre, storyboarding, considering what their audience will enjoy, editing. A bit of a downside of this is that they are desperate to share what they have done and we all really enjoy sharing times but they are difficult to squeeze into a busy timetable (a few times this week we ran over the bell and into our lunch break). One solution may be to focus a series of lessons on what they are doing to develop their skills further. I thought we could perhaps do this with the ghost story movie they are making for the Sciennes 120th Anniversary i-Book. However, I would like a film-maker's input into this as I think this will develop both the children's and my own understanding.
One thing that has been stressful though is the workflow issue. In some ways I wish that some of these issues had been explored prior to the project (perhaps they have and we just need reminded of where this information is). It is a lot of work to start looking at your learning and teaching and think about how the devices can be used to enhance things that you already do, and completely change others. It is a lot of fun and I am really grateful for the opportunity but this is enough on it's own without having to fiddle about with issues around storing work from pupils. I don't think there is, or should be, one perfect solution but I think that we do need support with this. I think Fiona's point about the U.S. is really important. They must already have come up with workflow solutions and we could do with these presented to us so that some of the leg work is done. I am sure that Cedar school have also come up with some solutions that would be good to share. It seems fairly pointless and demotivating to spend hours searching for solutions when some must already be out there. I think it is fair to say that both Fiona and I got a bit burned out trying to search for and set up solutions this week. I do accept that my thinking has to change about the need to file everything and that things can be filed within apps but I still need to have checked work that the pupils have done and given feedback. Obviously, the children sometimes do this for each other when they self assess and peer assess but even then I still like an overview. My class each have a personal email and have been emailing me work which I open, look at send them feedback on and file in Readdledocs, however, I am already behind on this and am feeling the weight of this with the knowledge that we are approaching the deadline for handing in part 3 of 30 personal learning plans/reports. Also, it is annoying that Pages documents can't be sent to Dropbox and that formatting goes all over the place if they send it in particular formats.
Luckily, we have a very supportive management who have recognized this extra work and are going to give us time out to help with this. Thank you also to Fiona and Jenny from our council who are looking into issues such as secure sharing of video over Vimeo with us.
Another completely unintended consequence of the project that has come at me from the blind side is the effect on my daughter who is the same age/stage as my class. She has increasingly become annoyed and obsessed with the fact that my class are getting to work on the ipads and her school and class aren't. She has decided she wants to write to her local council to ask them when they intend to get ipads for her class and has talked about how she will list the benefits as she sees them.
School eLockers looks like it does have the hand of lovely Geoff from Studywiz upon it