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!