I have started to look at the impact the iPads are having in school on teaching and learning and felt that I needed to consolidate a lot of the things I have been doing so that any future deployment had a streamlined process.
In reviewing all of the apps that I have trialled it soon became apparent that there were some very clear pedagogies coming through. The chance to develop communication in various ways, to enhance collaboration between students and staff and finally creativity, again from all areas of the school. So this is where I am at, how do I show staff, students and parents how the iPad can help develop their school experience, not just as a gadget to engage but to actually make a difference in doing things we could not before (@ictevangelist really made me think about this aspect after his SAMR presentation at #tmclevedon)

Communicate
Over the last year I have tried out several different apps that have really improved the communication I have with both staff and students. I have recently started to really explore the use of Edmodo. Such a simple tool for keeping in contact with specific groups, class groups, sports teams, staff groups, the list goes on. The beauty of the app is the ownership you have over it. We have a VLE we have email but these are school run systems that the students have no sense of ownership of, they are given it and expected to use it. The difference with Edmodo is that they have their own page and can have a picture on it, a simple thing but allows it to become theirs not ours. They then use it more. In the few weeks I have been using it I already have a better line of communication with the students and staff and means the endless emails I get everyday that are not actually for me are minimised.
Other communication benefits of the app come as part if the increased use of apps that allow for feedback to be given to students. My first venture into instant feedback in the digital form was through using google docs and google drive to link all of the departments BTEC course together and allow the students to see exactly where they are at all times. There are many other benefits to doing it in this way but the communication with students is key to it. When they submit their work now they get feedback that they can view whenever and wherever which means work can be corrected quicker and away from school.
This has had a huge impact on how the students are performing and brings in parental engagement as they too can see what is going in with their children’s progress in school.

Collaboration
This has been a buzz word around school for some time, how can we enhance a learners experience by linking subjects? Or how can students develop a deeper understanding through group work? Both valid things but are they done effectively? The one issue is time, we all struggle to find time to do the basic things so how are we meant to find time to do things on top if that? Apps like Evernote, Dropbox and google docs enable us to share ideas, files, resources etc with such ease that collaboration can be much more enhanced. Students working on a project can set up a shared folder and all can have access to add things in to it, to review each others contributions and to develop them, the beauty is this can take place anywhere, no longer are they constrained by the time in a classroom or arranging times to meet up. Individuals can work in their time and then use class time to really take things further, to deepen the understanding they have.
As a staff team we can do this even further. I have had the great pleasure to meet (mostly in the virtual sense) lots of great educators outside of my school, twitter has brought us together but things have developed aside from that. Examples include a shared bit if work on literacy in PE, started up by @davidfawett27, we use Dropbox and google docs to share ideas and resources that we can all try out in the our own schools and report back on the progress. Also there is a growing movement of #pegeeks that have a Dropbox shared folder for resources and now a YouTube channel for video resources. Finally I am working with @jamiegodzy on some iPad based work again collaborating on ideas, sharing use and generally having quality feedback on progress.
Could these things be done another way? Possibly but having the iPad makes it do much more efficient and hence it happens. I can find a YouTube video, save it straight into the shared channel, tweet about its use, create a resource, share that in Dropbox etc, all whilst being away from a computer or office.

Creativity
This is the real highlight, for me, I want students to really see the relevance behind the things I am asking them to do, all to often as a non IT specialist I am left using PowerPoint or Word or if I am feeling really daring Prezi. The problem is it makes all the work seem very similar for the students. The iPads have made a huge difference to this. The vast amount of apps available give endless options for students to be creative with their output and gives a real audience for the things they have created.
For example my students used to use PowerPoint to create posters for assignments in BTEC. It was an easy solution and the end result was okay, nothing special but it was easy for them to use as they knew how to. After doing this all the time however the impact, engagement and excitement goes. Now we find new ways to create things and the students get the chance to select what suits them the best. We now have work completed that can be shared anywhere as it is done in a variety of formats. For example students have recently completed a piece if work using Zapd, a simple tool that helps create web pages, the students find the information as they always did but now they can be more creative with the end product which is something they may be asked to do in a job. Students are learning real skills as well as producing work they can be really proud of. There are so many apps like this, moodboard, educreations, Zapd, video thread, fotobabble to name just a few, students are creating podcasts, websites, posters, and they have complete control. The feedback is excellent, and the standard of work is so much greater and from a literacy point of view it really helps. The real benefit is that most of these apps are free, so trial and error is encouraged without risk of wasting money.

These three areas overlap and if I were more creative I could produce a really nice Venn diagram to show it. The apps enable these new ways if working to seamlessly link together and make the skills become implicit, students create their work, usually with collaborative elements and can receive instant feedback on it.

Hopefully this can help convince people that the move towards digital technology is not a fad but a real change to help in the classroom and give staff a different way to approach their classes

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