Today, working with the students I have come to question whether or not iPads can disrupt more than enhance learning. It’s a thought that I’ve always tried to rationalise and think positively about. Educating the children in how to use their device to support their learning is easy- as the students enjoy using their device and enjoy working as a result. But as the end of term looms and tiredness sets in, attitudes can alter. So, if I’m unhappy about the diversions that I have heard about today – it stands to reason that other less confident teachers with iPad will be questioning the reasons behind using iPad in their classroom.
So what can I do about it?
Reflect: what is causing the disruption? Is the work pitched correctly to ensure challenge level matches ability? Do the class appreciate why they are using the device? Is it time to revisit online safety and appropriate use…especially with the ‘Y6 – leavers’…there could be many reasons.
Having just recently chaired a really positive Digital Genius Ambassador teacher forum – I demonstrated the yet to be release classroom app from Apple. This boasts the features of putting control back in the hands of the teacher. Classroom organisation and ‘power’ to oversee, refocus and ultimate stop the students from straying of the designated (pre planned) path to knowledge. It certainly ticks all those boxes – it also allows the teacher to operate ‘Classroom’ with a TA as support and another pair of digital eyes across the room. All positive. Today – this setting or imposing limits would be a quick fix in preventing diversions from the task.
My response to this problem has been to restrict access temporarily for those renegade learners to reinforce that using the iPad is an essential tool to learning and when it is not available makes the learning more difficult to access…I’m not sure though that now, that is enough. Only time will tell. I will be revisiting acceptable use policy and the sanctions that are clearly outlined. The transient nature of the classroom means that it is ever more important to educate the student to be responsible, informed and flexible digital citizen. This is the ultimate aim for our students, whether it takes a few misdemeanours in a controlled environment, perhaps the additional thinking and reflection time is the most valuable experience that school can provide. Doing what’s right and knowing what’s wrong is the bedrock of any society…