Having presented to SLT on my vision for iPad deployment at school I feel it is useful to reflect on the event, the feedback given and next steps needed.
The general reception was positive, I think that the use of iPads to help is not being questioned but there are some very big questions that need addressing before making a huge decision.
The question of impact on students was raised and needs addressing. We have recently had a trial of 40 iPads with students across the school, this lasted from September through to December and showed me the issues and successes of using these devices in school. A lot of the impact evidence I collected was anecdotal, useful but still just students thought about how they felt it impacted them rather than real evidence. The problem here is the limited time to show real progression. The students with the iPads were all starting their options so difficult to show a different rate of progression, perhaps seeing progression since they were handed back may give an insight? There was some key areas that I can explore however; how did things differ in classes where teachers embraced the devices against those that were unsure in use? How did teachers observed lessons get graded? Was there any impact on attendance?
Another key point raised was about staff training. I know from the response I got when offering training that there is a lot of training needed in order for these devices to have any impact. Where staff were already using devices personally or engaged in the training I put on there were really good examples of learners producing some good work. In other lessons the device was seen as a distraction. This just shows how in order for these devices to really work we need a whole school approach, vision and plenty of CPD.
Before this happens though I feel it is important to learn from mistakes and learn from other schools successes. Having spoke to @jamiegodzy about his work with iPads, I think now is a great time to look at current iPad users and give them specific things to look at. How does the iPad impact literacy, numeracy, G&T, EAL, homework etc. if I can get a learning team together to look at these things then it will be a great steeping stone into first convincing staff of the use and then engaging them in future training.
One member of SLT pointed out the recruitment possibilities of the iPad, that although it was not a central reason for getting iPads, the fact that parents and students may choose our school over others is going to be a positive, which means we have to get the pedagogy nailed so it shows value for money.
I also received a devils advocate response. I had shown a few apps that are not solely iPad based and was quizzed about why we needed iPads if they could access it on computers. First, you can only access the programmes IF you have a computer room, whereas with students having iPads, every room (and outdoor space) is a computer room, secondly, there are lots of other apps I could have shown but was trying to keep within my time (which I actually failed to do anyway)
So next steps are to gather this impact data, hopefully the vision is understood and the potential has been put across, it has been hard work to get this far with lots of time put in both at school and at home but it has been worth it. Now I just need to show that our students will benefit from it.