Day 26 – Pack it in!

Today I really packed in the tech…  Mobile technology can free students mind and help them to express themselves in a more creative way. However the skills of learning how to improve your skills as a learner, need teaching. This is where many schools fall down and classes become confused. A lesson with an iPad available to use is different to an iPad lesson. My belief is that the driving force of any lesson is the learning objective. Any resource that is used to support the students in achieving the lesson objective should be used when appropriate. This does not change when you include an iPad into the equation. The iPad is the tool which can further learning – it’s not an end in itself.

With a class brimming with 33 individual needs to be met the teachers ability to give timely support is a skill that is not always achieved. However, with iPad and a little time management and patience, a class can transform into a classroom that is pupil centred and led. The latter is achievable and the benefits are clear once the initial teething problems are overcome.
Skills the children require and acquire:
– to be able to follow instructions
– self check their work and moderate for quality.
– be open to suggestions from others
– flexible, responsible and motivated
– creative and good at overcoming difficulties (resilient)
– open to new ideas and willing to take risks and try something new (flexible & creative) entrepreneurial
– work to deadlines
So far none of these  skills would be disputed by a teacher as being beneficial. They also are skills that aren’t necessarily stated in any learning objectives of primary school children, let alone secondary school children. However having a mobile device in the classroom allows the teacher to specifically teach and promote these skills appropriately for the age group they are teaching. The 2015 Nesta report recently underlined the need for the country to invest time to train a workforce with transferable digital skills, I would argue that these are the most valuable learning objectives and the ones that will make a difference to our students as they mature and inevitably join the workforce. So how is this achieved?
What I have used in the classroom today?

In order to give the children autonomy with their work they have to be given an overview of the tasks in hand. The best way to achieve this is with a file sharing such as Foldr or Showbie. It can also be achieved by using iTunes U. If iTunes U courses are used in the school this is the optimal way of teaching the skills that digital citizens will need.

1) iTunes U course. 
Each of the year groups computing curriculum is delivered as an iTunes U course. It allows me to develop resources, differentiate for each individual and collectively, collect and grade work and give individual feedback. It also gives the opportunity for my students work to be peer assessed and for them to further their understanding through the discussions option. It also allows me to change the course easily and update my resources.
2) Yak-it Kids animation app which gives an additional way to quickly ascertain the level of individual learning. I used this as a exit ticket challenge. The short 15 second recording limits words so the student had to script a speech that succinctly explained email etiquette. 
3) Hopscotch – today we finished our Shang Dynasty games – each pair published their game the Hopscotch website which means they have the opportunity to hold their skills up beside their peers and to receive the critical feedback to help them further their learning into future projects.
4) Explain Everything : the students revisited their own series of animations which depicted multiplication methods and chose their preferred method to complete their work this week. It showed just how vital it is that in maths students are able to articulate their learning and this enables them to truly understand the concepts.
5) The zoom function that can be found in accessibility. A few students like to have their work made cleared due to failing eyesight. 
But many like to have the work that is modelled on their iPad to have clarity. By activating the zoom function in settings/general/ accessibility/ zoom the three finger tip tap can make all the difference to following instructions. 

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