With a cup of coffee and a chocolate digestive in hand the the teaching assistants were invited to attend a 20 minute ‘spotlight on digital skills’ session. They had all been released together from their usual duties so that they could increase their own skill level using iPad.
In order for any digital strategy to fully embedded in the school needs to be embraced by the whole staff. More importantly it needs to be understood and accepted as part of the vision for the school. Therefore, the development plan or the digital strategy needs to have been discussed and agreed by staff so that they can understand why it is they are being asked to change or modify their skill set. In my experience if this has happened change is managed much more smoothly and with understanding.
It is in this climate that our first digital skills session was held. Last week all the school’s iPads were taken in under the umbrella of the MDM. Although the staff enjoy greater flexibility and less restrictions on their iPads they are part of the schools agreed use a policy and therefore need to appreciate how they work in the classroom with the students to educate them to be responsible and discerning digital citizens.
Our first app was Book Creator (those of you following my blog will also have seen the myriad of ways that the creator is utilised within the curriculum already). The best way to learn any new skill is by doing. So using airplay in one of the classrooms we set about creating our own book from a temp late. After just 15 minutes, and a lot of laughter, each of the TA’s had completed a page of their book using all of the features on the + menu.
We also had looked at searching for images with the correct usage rights as it’s important that the TA’s to reinforce the responsible use of the technology whether they are on iPad, a PC or another device at home.
Having shared and published our very brief new book our allotted 20 minutes were up. The attendees went away with the confidence to have a go themselves – and with half term coming up it’s a timely opportunity to explore the possibilities of using this particular app.
An added bonus in this close quarter training is that one of the ladies wanted to ask a ‘how do I?’ question. She wanted to show a slideshow of images of the work the class had been doing. This was easy as in Photos once an album is created the option to show as a slide show is inbuilt. Having showed the TA’s this feature, I was very pleased that on walking past the year two classroom on their screen was being air-played a slideshow of images of the proud students making salt dough. An activity that they had undertaken that very morning! I’d call that on side!