Posted by: carlsumner | February 20, 2015

One to One Mobile Technology in the Classroom

For the past 18 months as a school we have invested heavily in Apple technology as fixed classroom and breakout area resources ( iMacs) as well as mobile devices (iPad and iPod) and related software that has provided additional enrichment opportunities (Green screen; Synergy radio) and integrated management support ( Emerge, ClassDojo reward system ). To begin with most classes had a set of iPads (14/15) to be used between all children.

A natural development has been to move towards a mobile device for each child. This has a number of notable benefits but also raises a serious question over value for money and the measurable impact on the quality of educational provision.

Rationale

The benefits of mobile devices can be seen through the support that additional applications can provide in specific situations. The independence offered by having a device that allows you to browse the Internet, record ideas in a variety of ways and automatically save and edit work as you progress helps to develop learners who have more responsibility over their own learning as well as retaining the ability to share and collaborate.

The move to one to one increases the independence and responsibility placed upon the children when managing their own learning. Each iPad is assigned to a specific student (alphabetically ordered and numbered with labels) with a specific school-based email address linked to each machine.

A student pledge was created that each child was required to sign along with their parents to ensure the responsibility was understood and as a potential precursor to allowing iPads to go home to aid learning. Each pledge was sent to their related iPad for reference.

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In conjunction with the new iPad roll out, a set of apps and specific software was agreed upon in order to create a uniformity across school in terms of resources available to children. These were designed to provide the necessary blend of support and engagement to cover all aspects of the curriculum.

Aligned to this was our use of the app Showbie which provides users with a centralised learning area to interact with documents, video, voice comments, image and web links. This functionality creates a new element to the independent features of the iPad and a greater value to having one each.

The children are also developing a better understanding of the need for regular maintenance of their tablet through deletion of unnecessary images, videos, web history and documents. They are responsible for charging the device, ensuring they are replaced carefully and to keep to appropriate use of them at all times. Our e-safety work will cover these areas and more.

Ideally, research into impact will focus upon raising attainment, increased engagement, independence and responsibility towards learning, creative development and increased collaboration within a 21st Century learning environment that better prepares our children for future demands.

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