‘What we had to do was state what we had to investigate. We had to show our method using a number of pictures describing what we did. We had to type and video a hypothesis which we then imported into Pages. Just below we had to type our results beside a chart showing the amount of worms in different environments. Below that chart we had to do a table showing the results which you got and the class average and beside that we had to do a conclusion saying what happened and how your result were different to what you predicted.
I think the iPad came in very useful as when we had to record data it was very easy and accessible. I also think the iPads were useful as we could easily take a good quality photo and import the photo into Pages. Videos on the iPad have a good quality microphone which captures your voice very well as well as having loud, clear speakers that produces voices very clearly. The camera is very good because it captures quite a lot and it can easily focus on one specific face or object. The camera is very useful as there are on two sides of your iPad which is very handy because we needed to video ourselves saying a hypothesis and pictures of the mealworms; it is also useful as the camera can control the lighting to a suitable standard. The keyboard is very easy and accessible as it will come up with a single touch of where you need to type and the keyboard is very clearly laid out with a good size, so when we are in a hurry we can type fast and accurately.’
Shaylan, Year 7
This term Year 7 students have been learning about a range of artists and cultures in Art, and the iPad continues to be an exciting and creative part of the curriculum. Here is what one student had to say:
“In the last couple of weeks, my Art class and I have been working with clay, using different techniques to mold, shape and mark. We used iMovie to produce our own tutorials, instructing others how to incise, roll and appliqué. In my opinion, this was a lot more fun than just teacher instruction and to be able to explain these skills added to our understanding. Using the iPads in this fun and exciting way enabled us to utilize the technology we have at our fingertips.”
In other classes students have been learning about how a journey is expressed in Aboriginal Art and in the work of British artist Richard Long. Students have recorded a personal journey of their own- their journey to school or a walk as a basis for their artwork. Google Maps or Skitch were used to record their route map, time weather and things passed along the way. Students have also made use of their iPad cameras to make a ‘photo essay’ documenting their journey visually through a set of photographs. In the words of one student:
“In art this term we have used a diverse amount of materials to create our work and the iPads have been a major device and improvement to our work.”
Kirstie W, Technology rep for Arts
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Our school has a long tradition of teaching students to perform on the Gamelan and it is an excellent way for students to demonstrate their teamwork and communication skills. There was an on-going issue of how the students could practise these skills between lessons without access to the Gamelan instruments and how they could gain a deep understanding of the relationships between the different instruments within the group. A new free app ‘Virtual Javanese Gamelan’ was given to the students before starting the project and students were able to practise the piece ‘Lancaran Baitok Kandhas’ using all of the different Gamelan instruments before performing the piece as a class and to practise any parts they found challenging between lessons to allow us to spend more of the lesson concentrating on the group performance rather than individual practice.
The performance level and engagement from the students was noticeably better than in previous years thanks to the use of technology and the subsequent filming of the performances with the iPads has allowed students to evaluate their performances in much more detail and given them the opportunity to show their work to friends and family
This past Tuesday evening, nearly 40 Year 7 parents and 9 teachers participated in a presentation and discussion event that we hosted in the library about the role of technology at school and its impact on family life, with particular reference to the current iPad pilot.
I started by recapping the journey so far, giving examples of how use of the device is meeting our stated aims of ‘preparing students for a society permeated with Technology’ and of ‘extending and enriching learning across the curriculum.’ I also explained the rules in place at school and highlighted evolving teaching approaches that reflect the key 21st Century skills we aim to develop in students.
My colleague, Jacqui, Director of Teaching and Learning Resources, then addressed issues around the challenge shared by all parents of teenagers in achieving a comfortable balance of independence, self-regulation and responsibility, and how technology access is different yet similar to other areas that require parent mediation of teen life.
After each of the two presentations, parents split into small discussion groups ‘manned’ by my tech reps as well as the Head and Assistant Head of Year 7, to share openly and frankly what is working as well as strategising areas for development.
Finally, I explained how the Parental Controls settings of the iPad could be a starter for discussion with children at home.
I am looking forward to reading the notes from the discussion groups…my initial impression of the evening was that, whatever reservations/fears parents may have, they welcome our efforts in advancing their children’s learning through technology, and that they appreciate our willingness to raise uncomfortable issues, as well as giving parents the opportunity to share with other parents strategies they can take away….
Students use the free Snake and Ladder app. They have to count in Target Language as they move. When a sum pops up they have to type in the answer in figures but say it in the target language.
So, yesterday we used the free Make Dice Lite to practise making sentences about eating/drinking stuff in the Perfect tense using a time frame, a subject pronoun and a past participle. First, I projected my iPad on the IWB and had students make a 6 sided dice in French for each of the 3 sentence elements. They then quickly copied these in English. Ahhh, you say, what about the auxiliary verb? All will be revealed! This was the sequence of activities:
– roll the French dice, help each other translate then move to trying to beat your partner to say the English, first person to 10 points
– same activity, but with the English dice..of course this is a lot harder because they have to provide the correct auxiliary…they could have the verb paradigm in their exercise book to begin with, then withdrawn during the competitive bit
– Extension: students will add various components to the sentence ie what they ate, their opinion, and a justification
Advantage of using tech for this activity: students really engaged, massive random and repeated exposure to the full range of subject pronouns and auxiliaries, lots of French being spoken, fun. Plus, they can practise at home! The dice can be reused and cannot fall off the table!
Over the past week in Year 7, Humanities students have been using the app ‘Sock Puppets’ in a variety of ways to support their understanding and learning. In History, students have used this app to reenact key points in history. Their focus at the moment has been the Battle of Hastings. Questions like “Why I should be King?” have lead to some interesting debates. In Geography, students have been explaining Fair Trade and its issues with this app.
Max, Yasmin and Ayisha were very keen to give some comments: “Speaking through the puppets was interesting and fun”; “I liked the voices and characters it made it a fun way to explain what I knew at the end of the lesson”; and “A great way to finish a lesson and to let my teacher and myself know what I had learnt.”
There has also been further development of the use of ‘iMovie’ for an assessment task in Geography on Fair Trade. The students have been developing their independent research skills on this topic and using creativity to develop their understanding. The teachers are looking forward to watching the completed movies.