Monthly Archives: February 2012

A Visitor From Afar

On Friday last week, we had a visitor come and visit our school all the way from Australia. But before I explain who it was, I have to tell you the story behind the visit!

Last year I struck up a conversation on Twitter with a young man, Michael Graffin (@mgraffin). He co-founded the Global Classroom Project (mentioned in an earlier post) and I was very interested in getting involved. Over the next few months we communicated quite regularly and I got to help with his project by setting up the Facebook group and helping with the Global Classroom Project blog.

Michael is a relief teacher in Perth, Australia and he has recently started working as a research assistant for Dr Jenny Lane at the Edith Cowan University. He has followed our school’s iPad journey with interest and I was pleased to see that he was involved with iPads at the university.

Well, obviously Michael mentioned our pilot project to his boss, because two weeks ago, out of the blue, I got a message on Twitter:

 

In a jiffy we set up a meeting for 24 Feb – we weren’t missing out on this opportunity!

Dr Jenny Lane is a senior lecturer at the Edith Cowan University. She has a particular interest in applications of technology in learning and the teaching of E-Learning.  She was also awarded a research fellowship for 2012 and is researching the changes in classrooms when teachers are confident users of iPads.  See her blog: Tips2012@edublogs.org

Our meeting, attended by myself, our Head of IT (@maryna_n) and our Senior Primary principal (@artpreston), was a very fruitful one. It seems that teachers all over the world are experiencing very similar issues and apprehensions when it comes to the integration of ICT into the curriculum. It is, however, being driven by the Australian Government and is being included in the new National Teacher Standards for Australia, which are currently being rolled out.

As for iPads, Dr Lane is very excited about their implementation in the classroom, hence the topic for her research this year. What came out of our discussions was the following:

  • Affirmation that our cautious approach (25 school-owned devices for a pilot project) is a wise one – she has implemented a similar approach at the university.
  • Baby steps – try something small, one lesson and let it grow from there.
  • Prior planning is vital.
  • Consultation with the teachers and parents is important.
  • On-going support is essential – not by an ICT boffin, but by a teacher who has intimate knowledge of classroom management.
  • You do not need Wi-Fi to make the device work!

We will stay in contact with Dr Lane and Michael (of course!) so that we can learn from her research and perhaps implement some of the ideas and tips that stem from her blog and possibly contribute to the research from South Africa.

Thanks Michael, for the recommendation! Thanks to Twitter for the amazing contacts!

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The day finally arrived!

Yesterday history was made at our school! We placed 25 iPads into the hands of our very eager Grade 6s, and boy, did they surprise us! Most of them had never touched an iPad before, but within minutes they were looking for ways to be creative – they were typing, drawing, taking pictures, using Photo Booth and more! We gave them free rein, time to explore and have fun – and that’s just what they did!

A Sneak Preview!

We are working hard on rolling out our iPads, but I couldn’t resist giving you all a sneak preview!

The lock screen image was designed by Tanya in our Marketing department. Doesn’t it look stunning?

Cross-posted at: http://just-ipadding-along.posterous.com/sneak-preview –  see you there!

A New Era Has Dawned

We are SO excited! The 25 iPads for our Grade 6s have finally arrived and we will be spending the next week or so getting them prepared for roll out in the classes. This is truly a new era for our school and we are ready to tackle the challenge head-on. I will document our progress here.

Firstly, setting these iPads up is quite a task:

  •        Switch on, sync to a computer and register each device
  •        Name each device (Generic name to match the email address)
  •        Set up a generic email account on each device (for submission of work)
  •        Sync with iTunes and install required apps
  •        Design a funky school-branded home screen and set up on each device
  •        Put screen protectors on the devices

Also:

  •        Draw up an Acceptable Use Policy for the teachers and pupils.
  •        Create a wiki for uploading of work, videos etc. for pupils to access.

That’s just to start off! I’m sure I haven’t thought of everything, but I’ll update the list as I go along.

Cross-posted at http://just-ipadding-along.posterous.com/

A Fresh, New Year – Well it was, a month ago!

 

It’s the first day of February and I haven’t written a word on my blog yet!! Sad, but true – as usual, the year has started off with great gusto on the work and home front, and unfortunately some things have just got to slide… for a while! Anyway, belated Happy New Year to everyone – here’s to making 2012 a year to remember!

I am not big on New Year’s resolutions, but there are some goals I have set for myself for 2012:

  • Blog more often – make it short, but sweet and do it often!
  • Breathe fresh, new life into the lessons in our IT Centre (with the help of my colleagues of course!)
  • Encourage my colleagues to make global connections! There are so many exciting projects out there!
  • Finally get those long-awaited grade blogs off the ground.
  • Build on the iPad sandpit experience we had in 2011 and hopefully launch our set of floating iPads.
  • Encourage my colleagues to participate at one of our TeachMeets or iPadMeets which will be held regularly at our school.

I think this is a “doable” list! Let’s see how it goes!