A final word, but not so final

So a final word on the iPad trial which has now ended for the DEECD. Overall the trial at Epsom has been very successful.

On a student level we saw:
– disengaged students becoming animated and taking action for their learning
– work output of some students who may usually not take to pen and paper grew substantially
– the power to direct their own learning via selecting their own appropriate app for a learning task was taken on by students with enthusiasm
– social benefits to students who may previously have been “out of the loop”
– students creating at home with no instruction
– preference for the iPads over the Netbooks by 98% of students
– willingness to share work substantially increased

From the teachers perspective:
– changes with pedagogy and the shift from sage on the stage to guide on the side
– resistance in some key learning areas to use the iPads
– less technical problems to solve in class
– some release of direction to self directed learning
– high learning curve experience
– overwhelming “Yes we would use them again if given the chance”
– less able students more productive

from the technical aspect
– student managed is the best way to use the iPads
– some students haven’t Internet at home and had to be accommodated at school
– use of Mac Book Pro was invaluable
– use of head tech student for trouble shooting, updates etc invaluable
– volume licensing is needed to keep the cost down when purchasing 30+ copies of apps
– labeling and care of iPads necessary from the start
– covers were successful, hard shell and skins
– breakage very minimal
– websites needing flash use Rover or Perfect Browser
– on Demand testing unavailable on iPads due to explorer plug in used
– drop box very useful
– class gmail account used and individual accounts
– backing up wasn’t done enough
– battery life was fantastic
– each iPad had a school iTunes account allocated although some students used their family account
– purchasing of apps needs supervision and constant monitoring (parents and teachers)
– school wifi sometimes did not handle everyone online and downloading.
– some restrictions may need to be added regarding limits for app purchasing, YouTube etc.

We have created a video which tells more than words could that I’ll be posting in the next week or so. (one more permission note to get back.)

At the end of the year the students were very reluctant to hand in their iPads with some giving them a last hug almost humanizing them. The netbooks were handed in without question or grief. I felt sorry for the students and actually let them have a further visit with their iPad on the next day.

The Future 2012

The DEECD trial may have ended but here at Epsom we are continuing to use the iPads and will be using them in the grade 3/4 team. This will involve 2 teachers and 51 students. It will be very interesting to compare the use this year as many of these students have used iPods in their classrooms for 3 years. They are the masters of idevices and a new generation. So watch this space for further posts which I hope will be more regular.