Wednesday, 8 August 2012

What a start!!!

Technically speaking..........
Well it has been an interesting journey so far. We have set up most of our iPads however given each need their own individual Aple ID accounts, made the process very time consuming. We also had a number of other technical issues to overcome. But with the help of Derek and Carol Stewart we forged on.
Despite this we have 10 iPads in each K-3 class in use (finally Pre Primary was deployed...another technical issue that needed to be resolved). The feedback has been great by staff and students. The engagement level of our students, which is our main focus for the iPad implementation, is terrific.

What the kids have done so far............
The year three students were lucky enough to be the first Sacred Heart class to utilise their iPads.
Using the APP Educreations, the students created short audio visual presentations of their magnificent "coffee-cup models".  They took photos of their models and then explained the procedure they used to create them. The year two class used the same APP to take a photograph of their favourite page of their class focus book then explain what was happening in the story and circle parts of the illustration and text to explain the reasons why it was their favourite story.

Secondly the year three class used the APP Popplet to create a mind map from their research on the game of hockey (top image). The highlight of this activity was that the students were beginning to think of other ways to use the APP such as creating family trees and planning stories.

The year ones have also had an engaging start by using specifically selected, relevant maths APPs in small group learning centres.  With teacher support, this also enhanced student motivation and learning.

School Visits and Professional Development
One of the important and energising aspects of the last few weeks has been the opportunity to visit schools who are further down the process of technology implementation. Chris Dunning and Adrian Torrese visited the Junior school of Aquinas College to meet with the Principal and ICT facilitator. Within an enlightening meeting, many terrific ideas and strategies were shared in relation to student use and parental concerns and involvement.
Holy Cross College in Ellenbrook are certainly leading the way in Educational Technology. Adrian Torrese particpated in a wonderful Open Day for educators that shared the school's approaches, beliefs about learning and strategic planning. Two highlights were the Principals presentation that reinforced the notion of quality learning being the first and foremost priority and an amazing workshop titled "Apptitude", facilitated by the students. In this session the students shared the type of APPs used on their iPads within different learning areas. The powerful and deep learning was obvious.
At the recent Catholic Curriculum Conference it was great to observe a year 6 class who did their learning for two days at the Perth Convention Centre. Armed with comfortable and progressive furniture as well as an iPad, the students were creating ebooks about their learning. They worked individually, in pairs and groups. Teachers from other schools had the opportunity to observe and ask questions. Great stuff!

We hope to continue seeking examples of good practise and share our journey with others.

Creativity - Producing or Consuming??
Our focus has been on using APPs and the iPad features that link curriculum outcomes and learning. As opposed to just finding "fun" APPs, our process is starting with the learning outcome in mind and then finding something that enhances the learning experience. We prefer APPs that allow us to put in content and data (i.e the children's thinking and learning) instead of always simply using content filled applications. Striving for more producers of creativity as opposed to consumers of creativity.

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