Using the Ipad as a shared device across departments - what does it look like?
Hillcrest High School is preparing to engage in a comprehensive BYOD program for a student body of 1600 and staff of 100 in 2014/15. Central to this preparation are three primary questions - What does Blended eLearning look like in the classroom? How does our pedagogy need to change to take advantage of the affordances of the IPad? Can we use a device that is designed for personal use (the IPad) as a shared device across different departments? Three departments were chosen - Mathematics, Music, and Languages as part of an Inquiry Learning Project in partnership with the Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research at the University of Waikato. 30 IPads were deployed across the three departments. The initial rollout struggled due to inadequate technical support and staff grappling with developing new pedagogy, IPad nomenclature and work flow. Subsequently steady progress was made with project teachers discovering the diversified teaching and learning potential of the IPad platform. Student submission of work via email was viewed as an important component of the inquiry cycle, and initial obstacles to setting up the IPads with a generic email address were overcome, which produced a reliable system of gathering student work. Students involved in the project started with expected enthusiasm and excitement and graduated to viewing the IPad as another learning tool. Teaching staff very quickly discovered that “content is King” and students would lose focus quickly if the learning task was ill defined and not engaging the student at their level of learning. This was particularly evident in the music class where a broad range of student ability necessitated the use of scalable learning contexts using Apps and websites. Attendees will gain insight into the dynamics of planning, facilitating and running a project which experienced both significant setbacks and leaps forward, and produced unforeseen answers to questions about our teaching and elearning pedagogy. This project was born out of a desire to take our elearning pedagogy and practice to the coalface of learning in the classroom with the understanding of not really being sure of what we would find - positive or negative. The swift pace of technological development is asking questions of why and how we use these affordances to benefit our students in an increasingly technocentric world - questions we must be brave enough to try and answer.
Note; This presentation is in conjunction with Dr Noeline Wright from the Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research at the University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.