When, Why & What 1:1 iPad? Part 1

I thought that I would start by outlining the key points about 1:1 projects as I see them.

It starts with the Learning. If you come to a decision to embark upon an iPad 1:1 project because you like the iPad, or you’ve heard that the device is good, STOP, wrong reason.

ipads


Independent creative learning is what the iPad supports... a device where the device disappears, the technology gets out of the way and the learning is not disturbed but augmented. A key cornerstone of our iPad learning vision entails the fact that we don’t want the iPad used too much... simply another tool in a range of options for quality learning.

Having spent many years stabilising and developing teaching and learning, we now have quality staff, delivering quality independently creative learning daily. Supportive technology was now needed to take learning onto the next level. If you have any quantity of didactic pedagogically challenged staff, then you are probably not ready for a 1:1 tool, since it will create an unwanted ‘problem’ in the lessons, with teacher constantly trying to regain control as the learners try to do what comes naturally.

The stage of evolution in a school is key. A few years ago neither our staff nor students were ready for a 1:1 device, however, we did evolve our mobile phone policy around every 18 months through several stages; Not allowed... Allowed but switched off in bags... Allowed out of bags being used at break and lunch... Can be used to listen to music when working independently with the permission of the teacher... Can be used by the teacher as a tool to support learning when the teacher decides. These stages matched the development and readiness of our school. If you are looking at 1:1 iPads, you have already moved to mobile phones being openly used in lessons haven’t you?

In 2009 whilst talking with Jim Smith @thelazyteacher we decided that the time was ripe, but had the tool been invented? We investigated iPhone/iPod Touch/PDA devices with a coloured National Mobile Phone supplier and concluded that they did indeed support learning but were they not too small to do any ‘real’ content creation or intensive learning? Since we were not convinced, the search for the supportive tool continued. I had looked at tablet PCs but a restricted laptop with poorly designed interaction was not going to release potential. Further to this, I visited schools with netbook size laptops and was dismayed to see lessons turned into computer lessons with each student sitting at their personal terminal, barrier up, the dynamics of learning destroyed. The search continued for the device that would support creative and collaborative learning.

iPad 1 was launched, very promising but there wasn’t really the software yet to support the device and the operating system was not yet developed sufficiently. However, when the iPad 2 launched, were we there, was this the device? We decided that the time was ripe to launch a pilot trial.

I knew just the fellow to help look for Apps, trial the technology in the classroom and to help me to introduce the iPad into teaching and learning. So, I introduced Mark Anderson @ICTEvangelist to an iPad and encouraged him when he was sceptical, the Apple convert that he has become was not yet born.

To Be Continued...