iPad trials

So, we now have a set of class iPads and trials are going on all ipad in classround the school.  We are getting some positive feedback both from teachers and pupils.


A French Class

Having experienced using just one iPad in the classroom I was still slightly unsure about how I was going to go about teaching when all the pupils had access to an iPad.

I had the iPads with a set 4 class of Year 10 pupils. We had been learning how to talk about where we used to live which requires the imperfect tense and we had reached a point when we needed to introduce the idea of a mixed economy of tenses; both imperfect and perfect.

nearpodOnce pupils had settled and had their 30 seconds to have a play with the iPad I invited the class to join a live session on Nearpod that I had created.  Nearpod allows you to create multimedia presentations and interactive response scenarios and share them with your pupils.  The class watched a video at their own pace and pupils were focused.  Some called for some extra explanation which I was able to give as others were still watching the video.  Others appreciated the chance to talk through what they had understood and what the difference was between the two tenses.

At this point we completed the quiz that was part of the Nearpod live session that I had created.  Engagement was excellent.   They all enjoyed the quiz  and I was surprised at how well they had understood the content because it is tricky subject matter.

nearpod quiz


Despite having evidence that they had understood I still felt it important tosticky re-group and discuss as a class to ensure comprehension.  We then moved on after this to Sticky – Beautiful Notebooks for iPhone and iPad.  Thanks to @PhilippaToogood for showing me this app.  Once the pupils knew what the task was they approached it with focus and wrote their own notes using this app.  Unlike lino – Sticky and Photo Sharing this is not a collaborative or co-operative tool but it is a place to create knowledge, write notes and import notes and pictures from the internet.

Here’s one example of what was created in the last minutes of the lesson:

impf perf 1

It felt like a positive lesson to me and pupils had been focused and had made progress.  It was not without issue though.

“Why can’t you just tell me what I need to know”…

I was surprised at some of the negativity that I encountered from a few pupils. They did not want to investigate for themselves and could not see any benefit in learning this way.  Once they had watched the video they had to be prompted to watch again if they had not understood initially.  We may assume that at their age they are digital natives but in fact using sticky note showed me that they were not as intuitive as I would have thought.  That said, they did persevere and felt some satisfaction when they had worked out how to do what they wanted within the app.

Other issues were linked to the practicalities of using iPads which need to be considered for future.  For example, how should pupils share their work with the teacher?  We air-dropped work, which worked well but would Google Drive be a better, smoother option for us.

For me and for most of the pupils it was a positive experience and they enjoyed learning in this way, with support via the video and then being able to write their own notes knowing that the internet could be accessed for further information and images.  I was free to help around the class with those who were struggling more with the content of the lesson.  I felt that the class had made progress and had understood some tricky grammar.  I am looking forward to seeing what else we can create next week.

#flipping the class in Maths…

@vallance_ian finally got his chance to trial teaching  with the class set of iPads with his set three, year 9 maths pupils.  He decided to flip the class….

Here’s his feedback:

I set a task for them with specific instructions:

a)      Research and write notes on ‘The difference of Two Squares’. (D.O.T.S) -This was an additional extension piece at the end of the topic which involved factorising quadratic expressions.

b)      Using the sites recommended or others found during your research revise for your forthcoming exam.

I provided the pupils with a worksheet and the interactive whiteboard was set up for students to record discoveries, likes and dislikes.  See below for a summary of their thoughts.

feedback form

My observations:

  • Earlier planning would be needed in future to fully test the apps and sites required before the event.
  • It was useful to be able to use the Khan Academy App  Khan app
  • It was really helpful to have the IT Support team with me so that they could help me when issues arose (such as being able to fully deploy the Puffin Web puffinBrowser App which allows us to download items with flash content.
  • Other technical problems were dealt with immediately – so for this first effort with a whole set of class iPads it meant that the whole lesson could continue.  Would this have been the case without such support?
  • All students completed task a) to a greater or lesser degree however they were very insistent that I went over the explanation before they felt confident. In my opinion it was much easier to teach this topic after the students had done the research and I am confident that they now understand how to factorise the D.O.T.S. –an example of the flipped classroom.
  • Students involved themselves in task b) well and were happy to highlight good and newly discovered sites for this task. Interestingly if students found a site/app that wasn’t immediately useful they moved on quickly but didn’t record a ‘dislike’.
  • Students were happy to download apps and through some technical wizardry the IT support team were able to show me which apps had been downloaded during the lesson – We could find nothing untoward which was encouraging. I understood this ability to download apps to be a happy accident but in the context of this lesson it was very useful
  • Some students asked to listen to music while revising – I allowed this
  • Engagement was very quick and for the vast majority of the lesson students were fully engaged. I answered a number of maths related questions but this was much lower than I would have expected in a usual lesson.
  • At the end of the lesson I asked the students to use their iPads to email me their thoughts on the lesson – The responses were very telling (summary of student thoughts to appear in due course)

Many thanks James, Diana, Dave and the rest of the IT team for their support.

Some student comments:

  • I found today’s lesson really helpful. The iPads are a very useful revision tool and I can now use the sites that I found to do revision of my own. I now fully understand the difference of two squares using a variety of websites and apps and I hope this becomes a permanent development because I learned things at my own pace and if I didn’t understand I could research easier websites or even read it over to a degree until I understood.
  • I thought that using the iPads today was a great help because I got to find new ways of working things out using websites that I will definitely use in the future for revision.
  • I think that the iPads are useful however sometimes they were quite distracting and I didn’t always understand the notes I was writing in my book so I think that maybe half the lesson should be used with iPads but then the other half should be going through questions on topics we researched and then if we are still confused can get extra help from the teacher. However I do think that some lessons would be useful with iPads.
  • I found using the iPads very useful as there was  more of a variety of learning techniques and ways we could find things out. It was good for research because the things we found out we are more likely to remember but the revision tools were not really much different than the ways we usually revise.



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