VPP is here in the UK (and several other countries) and that will certainly help make the next step in our implementation more affordable. We have several hundred iPads in boxes stored on campus ready to distribute to classes as the project gathers pace and this means several new areas will experience one-to-one for the first time.
The rolling out of the one-to-one scheme in fourth grade is particularly interesting as neither the teachers nor the students in that grade level have had much to do with the project thus far. It will be interesting to watch the project take shape and to document changes in teaching and learning practices observed there as we proceed through the year.
In the first lesson we plan to take the fourth grade students through the process of “purchasing” (with vouchers) Pages from the iTunes Store and installing it on their iPads in class. This approach assumes no prior knowledge on the part of the students about how to make purchases on the UK store, although we do expect some students to demonstrate a degree of familiarity. We are encouraging teachers and students to use their imagination and creative powers to reexamine what standard apps like Camera, Weather, Maps, Photo and Calendar can do in the teaching and learning domain – as well as specialised apps like PuppetPals HD and Morfo Booth. Pages is one of the apps we require pre-loaded onto all iPads used in class, along with the requirement that students bring the iPad to school each day fully charged.
For now, these last requirements don’t really figure much in the equation as the iPads will remain in the classroom until after an initial round of parent meetings to remind them of the scheme’s existence and their responsibilities within it. Other schools have blazed this trail before us, and we are grateful for our strong links with administrators in schools such as Hurstpierpoint College, Essa Academy and Cedars School of Excellence, all of which are acknowledged leaders in different aspects of iPad use in the classroom and all of whom have been generous with their advice and counsel, but we are also cognizant of the fact that we are blazing some new trails ourselves. We look forward to sharing some of our original research with the ECIS member-schools who will be attending the ECIS Technology Conference that we are hosting in March 2013. A post on that will be forthcoming soon, but in the meantime the ECIS’ own description can be read here.
In the meantime, the always excellent Andrew Goodgame was at ACS Cobham again this week to present to the annual Connect Conference we hosted. His audience thoroughly enjoyed his entertaining yet informative demonstration of the iPad’s facility for enhancing special needs teaching and learning, and judging by the enquiries I found myself fielding after the presentation, he will find himself in well-deserved demand for the foreseeable future!