Monday, October 8, 2012

Be prepared!

I have been asked the question more than once, 'How did you prepare for introducing ipads in school?' so will try to provide a few tips. 

1. Firstly, you need the ipads set up with quality apps that are going to be useful in class. That may seem obvious, but I have delivered staff meetings in other schools where the technicians (and in one case ex headteacher) hold the password for downloading apps and the ipads had few quality items on them. It is frustrating for me and frustrating for staff when they cannot play with the apps I am showing. To get them used quickly across the school I would recommend the following:

  • Primary games maths apps - great for M+O skills across the primary age range
  • Sumo maths - a fun free app with different levels for calculation skills
  • Book creator - create e-books quickly and easily 
  • Mr Thorne does phonics
  • Twinkl phonics - fun games up to phase 5
  • Collins Big Cat - for guided reading and story creating
  • Puppet pals - create fun animations easily
  • iMovie - create slick movies with ease
  • I can animate - quick and easy stop animations 
  • Smart office / Noteshelf / Notability
  • Blogger - because it's so easy to get blogging with it!

The apps that we rate most highly at Roydon are shown here with some useful teacher tools here. You can cover a range of ICT skills with the programming and gaming apps shown here too.  

2. Provide an ipad for each teacher, even if the expectation is that they are available for use in class each day. Let TAs take home ipads if they want to. We have a booking out system at Roydon.

3. Make sure that there are regular training (learning through play) sessions for your staff timetabled throughout the year. Don't assume that all staff will want to take the ipads home and play with them. New apps need to be introduced properly and staff given the chance to use them so that they can understand the value of them. I would advise that this should happen at least once every half term to start with.

4. Limit the amount of apps you add, or the people that are allowed to purchase them. Try a 'request' system. This will help avoid the problem of 400 apps on the ipad with only 200 quality ones! 

5. Manage your apps so that they are stored in folders for children to locate them easily. Let them synch through the cloud. It is much easier if your ipads are set up so that they all look the same. It is very frustrating if you give out the ipads, then realise that the app you want them to use is not on all ipads. Teaching children to use the search facility is helpful too. 

6. Delegate ipads to each class, but have a timetable where they can be requested for whole class work. Having 4 in my room at all times means that group work can happen throughout the day. 

7. Set your home screen up so that ipads can be returned to the right class when borrowed (mine all have badgers on them). Having a number helps to. If a child starts to create a book on Badger 1, they know where to return to find it. 

8. Employ digital leaders to help you inspire and innovate!

I am researching the use of ipads in our school, as are others that I know of, like Jenni from Frettenham Primary. I will share my findings through this blog regularly in the hope that it will help others. Simon Haughton is another ipad enthusiast who writes extremely helpful posts about his experiences with ipads in school. You can read them here. Learning from others this way will not only inspire, but hopefully enable you to learn from any problems we have had. I will try to explain in more detail about the synching issues in the next post.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for mentioning our iPad app, do you have access to it?


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