The next step
After having a period of time in the experimental phase our digital, ‘Learning Champions‘ project, we moved to the next stage by carrying out action research. All of the focus groups carried this out over several weeks and reported back to the rest of the group, discussing their findings.
It was centred around the impact of using iPads on T&L. Each group gathered evidence both qualitative, using student questionnaires and surveys, which produced results based on students and their own perceptions and feedback, and quantitative outcomes, assessing work, grades, levels etc.
The overall findings were very encouraging and early conclusions indicate that there has been very positive impact.
An example of this was in the flipped learning group. A year 7 History project on the theme of castles was delivered through online videos, podcasts, apps such as Doceri and Keynote. The students accessed this through Edmodo and were taught the main content before the actual lesson, which allowed them to access higher order skills through discussions and debates in the actual lesson. The teacher, Dave Rawlins @ChepstowHistory, through his action research project, reported that the students were achieving at least two sub levels higher than where they were expected to be.
The literacy group reported that the students were not only more engaged in their reading but they were also making faster progress than before, particularly with students who found reading books challenging and had quite severe literacy needs.
This is just a sample of what we have found, there were some challenges and slight set backs, but the majority of the findings has been a real success and we all build on this to make it even better.
In June, we will deliver an internal ‘teachmeet’ where we will deliver presentations to the rest of the staff about our projects, sharing good practice and encouraging them to apply this in their own lessons. We will also look to invest in more devices and add staff to the project.
Now that this is becoming embedded into our teaching and learning pedagogy, we will continue to develop this, encompassing other strategies on our journey to ensuring that teaching and learning is excellent in our school. There are other very exciting projects in the pipeline, including Iris Connect which we will implement later this year. Updates will appear here at a later date.
I can’t emphasise enough the importance of having a strategic plan when starting to use digital devices in your school. Even today a guest came and commented how iPads were just given out to students and staff at another school without any training or planning. Results have been very disappointing and low impact on T&L.
My advice is to start small, assess impact and grow with a strategic vision.