Have just publicized, and am busy planning, with Library Director Jacqui, our first workshop for Year 7 parents on Tuesday, 5 February on the theme of ‘Living with the iPad’. We will share how iPads are enriching learning in school and also provide opportunities to discuss practical ideas for ensuring balance and responsible use at home.
“Starting secondary school is always a little scary but when we were told we were going to have iPads the whole of Year 7 were excited. We use iPads in a variety of lessons for many things from researching to creating presentations. Drama is a little different…. In Drama lessons, we use iPads to film group performances. This is a really good way for us to see how our work looks to the audience, make any changes and evaluate on what we or other groups have created. It’s easier then remembering what we did! Photos are another good way to make use of the iPads in Drama as we take pictures of still images and then look at the positioning of our bodies. All of this makes things easier to evaluate orally and write clear written reflections. The Notes and Pages apps are another way we use iPads. We record notes and ideas for ‘hotseating’ for different characters and record new information that we can use in our performances. I personally have started to use my iPad as a digital Drama book which keeps me organised. It’s been great having the iPad in school and especially in Drama as it really helps us to become more independent in class and makes you feel like a film director!”
Year 7 students have been seeing the benefits of their iPads during Learning Support lessons and in supported lessons across the school. Students have been developing independence, organisation and effective study skills using the camera tool to take photographs of their own work and of key words and explanations of different concepts. ‘Skitch’ has been used, alongside other annotation apps to add notes to pictures enabling students to build up their own electronic portfolio of work, as well as a library of personalised resources and study aids. QR readers have also been employed to enable students to access information more efficiently in an engaging environment. The speak facility has proved to be an especially powerful tool for students to check, edit and proof read their own written compositions. Students can hear their work read aloud and can therefore identify and correct any mistakes themselves, taking ownership of their learning and being responsible for their own improvements. A range of subject specific apps are being used to enhance learning across the school curriculum, providing a more multi-sensory learning experience from spelling and language tools to interactive Maths apps. Both students and Learning Support teachers have enjoyed adding this new dimension to their teaching and learning.
I think the most useful app we have used so far in Spanish would be ‘Show Me’. This is because this app not only can be a mini-whiteboard, but can also be a videoing and teaching device. The first way we used this app was by answering questions using the whiteboard, which I think improved our knowledge of the way words are spelt. The next way that we used ‘Show Me’ was to create a video of ourselves and a partner demonstrating how to conjugate an -AR verb. We did this using text (or drawing with our finger) while speaking at the same time. This was a fun activity and benefited us since we could practise our pronunciation and memorise the AR verb endings. Another activity we did using the iPad was revising through the camera. Our partner would ask us the questions to help us with our speaking assessment and we would answer while the iPad is recording. Once we had done this, Señora Radcliffe played us the videos of us through her computer. We made comments on ways each other could improve their accuracy on the question answer, or ways to improve their pronunciation, and things they did well. This helped us to learn our questions more and do more revision. It also helped us to see ways to improve and help others.
by Zoe, Olivia, Shriya:
“We have been enjoying using iPads as they are interactive and fun. After learning about different family members, rooms of the house and measure words and adjectives, we used the ‘ShowMe’ app to create online presentations to show our knowledge of Chinese so far, including recording our voices. Next, we are going to view one another’s presentations via Edmodo and peer assess them following a marking scheme, highlighting strengths and also suggesting targets for improvement.”
Last half-term in art, Year 7 students focused on drawing techniques. It has been exciting to compare and combine traditional approaches with the use of iPad apps. Students have used the apps ‘Bamboo Paper’ and ‘Linebrush’ to create textural drawings, based on photographs taken with the iPad camera, of natural objects such as leaves, twigs and stones that they collected for homework. Markmaking techniques and layering proved very effective in achieving tone and texture. Students have also used their iPads to photograph and reflect on their own artwork, research artists and to refer to the ‘Dictionary’ app for definitions of art terms and visit online galleries. We look forward to using the iPads further in art this half-term.
Kirstie Wilson, Tech rep for Art
In Science, Year 7 have been studying matter. They have used the apps ‘Showme’ and ‘Educreations’ to create animated videos to explain the structure and properties of the three states of matter. This was done by importing photos taken of skittles, representing particles in the three states of matter into the app. They then went onto annotate the photos and record a spoken explanation of the three states of matter. This was a very successful exercise as the students were prompted to think very carefully about how they would explain this in a clear and concise manner.
Ewan Connolly, Tech rep for Science
Over the past three weeks Year 7 students have had great learning opportunities using their iPads in their humanities lessons of history and geography. Fieldtrips around the school have been enhanced as the camera tool has allowed students to capture their observations and then present their findings using apps such as Skitch or Educreations. In geography lessons students have developed their GIS (Geography Information Systems) skills using Google Earth and images of the school. Students investigated and identified the changes around the school site and then created their own maps and presentations. Use of apps like iMaps, Map my Distance and Compass have helped to really open up the world to their eyes. In history the Pages app was used to develop creativity and detail in a writing task on students’ own myth or legend. By using recordable whiteboards students have been voicing their opinions and making observations on historical sources and events. Great leaps forward have been taken in a short period of time with a new generation of Senior School students emerging – exciting times ahead!
Leslea Allen, Tech rep for Humanities
Year 7 Students are arriving in Music lessons with their iPads, eager to learn how they can be used as a music-making tool and full of ideas for how they can improve their performances and compositions. Students completed a solo or group performance during the first six weeks of term and these were recorded with their iPads and then uploaded to Edmodo on the same day so students could watch back their performances and analyse strengths and areas for improvement for themselves and others. Many students noticed aspects about their technique, expression and performance skills which just would not have been possible from listening to an audio recording. It has also allowed students to have dialogues with each other and Music staff without having to wait for our weekly Music lesson. Students have also begun using the Garage Band app to create, edit and record music to a standard which would have required a roomful of expensive specialist equipment a few years ago. They can record soundtracks to films, practise a virtual instrument, work on their music theory, and listen to music at any time they like at school and at home. After half term, Year 7 will be using Garage Band to record or compose a piece of Programme Music and will then vote through Edmodo on who has produced the most creative and captivating piece of Music at the end of the project.
Will Hyland, Tech rep for Music
In Maths, Year 7 students have been using their iPads to explore geometry and the properties of common 2D shapes. Using the app ‘Geometry Pad’ they have been investigating and deducing formulae for finding areas and perimeters of triangles and quadrilaterals. Some students have also been looking at polygons and describing the properties of different shapes. The apps ‘Show Me’ and ‘Skitch’ have been used regularly to enable students to explain their understanding and to practise using mathematical language.
Paul Coggles, Tech rep for Maths
There was an air of efficiency and order, tinged with a ripple of excitement and anticipation, in the new Senior School examination hall this morning, as the first batch of iPads for use by students was issued to Year 7 parents. 115 iPads were distributed in the morning session, with some eager students bringing their parents up to the hall at 7.00am to be the very first to collect their device. Year 7 will have a week to set up their iPad and install the necessary ‘apps’. They will be expected to bring their iPad to school everyday from Week 6 (Monday, 24 September).
Year 6 students will also be getting iPads as part of our ‘iPads in the classroom’ trial. Year 6 parents will be asked to collect their child’s iPad on Monday, 15 October, so that it can be set up and ready to use immediately after the half term break. For the Year 7 students, this effectively marks the beginning of the iPad pilot year. However, much unseen work has been going on behind the scenes over many months to lead us to this exciting point:
• Y6 and 7 teachers and tutors have been attending training with the TFL (Technology for Learning) representatives in each Faculty and Year group in the use of general and subject-specific apps.
• A separate iPad microsite was conceived, designed, built and finally launched on Wednesday this week, as part of the TTS Portal. This site contains advice, app lists and tutorials for every aspect of setting up and using the iPads.
• The EBT (Educational and Business Technology) department has completed and is still engaged in a huge amount of technical work to enhance our wireless network, to ensure that the iPads will integrate with existing classroom projectors and interactive whiteboards and to process and distribute over 500 iPads.
• Y7 students have had PSHCE lessons on cyberbullying, a special assembly on both the advantages and significant responsibilities of having an iPad in school and at home (the presentation has been shared with parents on edmodo).
• ICT lessons have been planned for the coming weeks to ensure that no student is left behind with all the core apps and functions that will be required for school.
• A similar series of assemblies/ lessons to act as a reminder and reinforcement of the need for students to be diligent and thoughtful with their iPad use has been planned for Year 6 students. The instant and continuous connectivity of the iPad will offer a new set of choices and challenges for our students. These PSHCE sessions will remind them of the need for maturity and responsibility that goes hand in hand with such an exciting privilege. The whole-school Technology Working Group, the Senior School’s Technology for Learning Faculty, the EBT department, the Y6 ICT team and the Communications team all deserve a thank you for their efforts so far.
The rest of the school will watch with interest – and possibly a little envy – as the pilot progresses and examples of student creativity begin to emerge!
Article by John Ridley, Director of Studies
So after a year of thinking about it, with a bit of tweeting inbetween, here is my first real go at a blog. Why now? Because I have switched from running a large Languages Faculty for 10 years, and am now running a new Technology for Learning Faculty and we have just launched an iPad pilot involving 400 students in two year groups, Y6 and Y7, and 100+ staff.
I will post what we have done so far and then use this as my journal of where we go from here! I have learned loads from visiting other schools (both in person and virtually) and want to make more connections along the way to share ideas and successes as well as woes and obstacles.