(Note from Nicola – How this ipad project is blogged – because of the (poor) way in which I started this Code Club blog, I am writing the ipad project up here as a ‘page’, which means one long, reverse chronological post. All comments are grouped together at the end of this and this is where you will see what other people have to say. Sorry!)
So, we have been lucky enough to have been lent 12 ipads till the end of term. This post isn’t about Code Club, but it’s a place to park our own learning journey with this project!
We would really like to sensibly evaluate their use in school. We are well aware that most ipad experts recommend 1:1 but this is unlikely to happen anytime soon, so we are more likely looking at whether it’s worth getting a half or a whole class set, with some for SEN. We are also trying to gauge what proportion of the school day they would actually be used so we can establish some sort of cost vs benefit analysis. We know some will disagree with this structured approach but we’d really like some evidence.
Things we are considering whilst using:
- What’s the learning objective of the session?
- Could the lesson have been delivered without ipads? What extras did the ipad bring? (could be learning or engagement, motivation etc)
- Which apps were used & would you recommend them?
- Did you encounter any particular frustrations whilst using the ipads? How could we overcome them?
Year 3 took the ipads on their trip to London. They took photos en route to record their journey (oh yes, lots & lots of photos!). They have previously done detailed work on how to take a good photo so were delighted to have the cameras on the ipads. They also used Popplet to write about the things they took photos of (whilst on the trip). They learned to use Popplet on the PC’s last week so were quite used to the layout. See comments from Miss Hughes below.
Tomorrow they will be asked to choose their best photos and edit them accordingly and delete surplus ones 🙂 Thank you lovely Twitter (@mikemcsharry, @joedale, @simonhaughton) for suggestions & ideas about what to do with the best photos, we will feed back:
- Comic books (suggested apps – Comic Life, Comics Head, Comic Book, Comic Touch 2)
- Collage (Pic Collage )
- Tourist poster (Phoster – anyone tried it?)
- Photo editing (Handy Photo)
- Animated Gifs (5Sgif)
SEN – used Blobble Write (a big hit) and also Special Words (really popular with our staff as can add photos and words of your own eg family members, staff etc).
Here are the Popplets the children made whilst in London:
Then children made collages with their best London pictures, which they had previously selected & edited, using Pic Collage app:
This afternoon they are using the Shadow Puppet app to talk about some of the London landmarks they photographed, having researched their landmarks on the ipads first. A busy morning!
Frustrations so far (Nicola’s):
- How to get stuff we’ve made off the ipads – eg for blogging here (the ipad app doesn’t work well and media is spread across 12 ipads)
- One of the ipads seems to have lost its settings and won’t download apps
- Worried about children deleting each others’ photos etc off ipads
- Staff want to try lots of new apps but only one person has access to passcode for security reasons
- Children do everything too quickly and instinctively for us to keep pace! (worth saying that 90% of children in this class claim to have an ipad type device at home.)
- These are made as personal devices and the frustrations are presumably because we are trying to use them as shared devices.
- Where do staff get time to research apps/ plan lessons/ train themselves?
- We need a booking system for the ipads
- We don’t have enough technician time to cope with the ipads.
Here are the Shadow Puppets:
And here are a couple of our French videos, made with Mrs Davies using Puppet Pals – we have been so busy!
See Mrs Davies’ comments on difficulties with uploading.This has been another issue – we are unclear until afterwards which file format each app stores finished work in. So Shadow Puppets stores as an mp4 video & Puppet Pals as a .mov (which won’t run directly on our blog so they needed converting – I used Freemake Video Converter and it was very fast). We can use a lead to transfer videos and photos to the PC in order to blog them but not any other media formats. Teachers & older children may need more understanding of file formats and how to convert going forward.
Observation: I wasn’t surprised but delighted to see how absorbed the children were in doing their work independently yesterday. The classroom was buzzing! Children were researching their photo landmarks in groups of 5 – and the some of the children scribing manually on whiteboards were unusually enthusiastic about their writing. Collaboration was really good too. I wonder if it’s a novelty or will continue?
23rd/ 24th June
Year 1 and 2 took the ipads today and used the cameras. Miss Hatcher’s comments are below but I’ve copied them here:
“Year 1 and 2 used the ipads yesterday to take photos after a very exciting day making models of London using junk materials. Children found them easy to use and they were much more effective for taking photos due to larger screens and more of them! Although, they did need to take photos in the shade due to glare from the sun.
The children experimented taking ‘selfies’ which was fun! Feedback from the children was great and they were all very motivated to use them.
Mrs Bond and I then spent a while uploading the photos for children to manipulate and print using the programme Photo Simple. However, having saved them to the desktop and not a memory stick, we unfortunately lost the photos!! Very frustrating but not a fault of the ipad. However, had we been able to print from the ipads, we wouldn’t have needed to upload the photos and would have used the editing option already on there.
Despite losing the photos, children loved using the ipads and we found them very effective for taking photos.”
It’s so interesting to note that the children found these easy to use as cameras. We think they are less fiddly to hold and the larger screen enables taking better photos.Glare is always a problem on ipads outside. It is also such a pain getting the photos off 12 separate ipads. We will look at a shared Dropbox account and app later this week.
We retook the photos on a camera and will use the small card reader gadget for the ipad to put them back on the ipads today. Maybe they were saved in icloud automatically – I guess if they had been our own ipads we would have previously set this up. But it’s a good learning lesson for all of us and we always say to the children “Don’t let failure be an ending, make it a beginning”! It’s lovely to note that the children found taking photos so much easier. We will learn to edit using the apps and it would be nice for the children to use their photos in a Shadow Puppet film and talk about their landmarks and how they made them.
One of the things I have always loved about working at Merton School is the honest and open culture where it’s fine for children & staff to make mistakes without this daunting them. It leads to much more trusting relationships and makes projects such as this so much more transparent and fun to do.
We need to investigate printing from the ipads
Sophie has continued with SEN use – they have used the camera and video alot and we have found that one of our children seems to love talking into the ipad and hearing his voice back! Shadow Puppet is really useful for this purpose and easy to use.
Good & bad news about year 3 and the ipads – they loved blogging their work and experiences so much that that have started their own blog & abandoned this one! You can now find the year 3 journey and children’s comments here – http://year3matters.primaryblogger.co.uk/category/ipads/ and I will endeavour to also post bits on this blog too! Another great knock on effect of getting the ipads?
SEN – from Mrs N:
Since we have had the ipad at school, I have been using it with a year 1 SEN child nearly every day. It is a great tool for instant reward – it is not only a reward but it is a proper learning tool. It encourages the child to talk and hear himself/herself back (using Shadow Puppet). I have used the Special Words app, it is a fantastic app, to learn to speak and read, it encourages the child to stay focussed. It is worth having the program in school, for nursery children, children with speech delay or even children with poor English. It is a fantastic application. There is also a program called Special Stories, we do not have it in school and I would like to know if anyone has been using it before. It costs £9.99.
Bubble Write is also a good app for fine motor skills activities, it teaches children handwriting and it is a free app.
To use the ipad in school in a one to one session I would encourage the TA to explore how to use the ipad and then to lead the session with the child- the ipad is not a toy.
8th July – from Miss Hughes:
Year 3 have been working super hard all year but have been particularly excited by the arrival of…the ipads!
Having been to Kensington Palace last week we decided to retell the story of King George I and the case of the missing hot chocolate.
The children decided they wanted to retell the story in a number of different ways. So they split off into groups with some children writing stories, playscripts, making puppets, doing drama, writing letters and diaries. Some children decided to hand write their work while others wished to use the ipads, computers and laptops!
We used Popplet on the ipads, Word and Powerpoint on the laptops and computers. The children loved putting into practise the skills they have learned in ICT such as typing, inserting text, borders and most importantly creating and saving work in the correct folders.
The children’s enthusiasm for writing has certainly improved since the arrival of the ipads and laptops. In fact, this has been so much so that it has been difficult to get them to go out to play!
Both the quality and quantity of writing has improved too. It is clear to see that using the ipads/ laptops has made it easier for the children to edit and insert text and images and create professional looking pieces of work that are not ruined by them having to rub out or put lines through mistakes.
What is more, uploading the children’s writing to the ‘Year 3 Matters’ class blog (year3matters.primaryblogger.co.uk) has really helped boost the children’s confidence, allowing them to see other adults and their peers comment on their writing.
Keep up your hard work Year 3! I am so proud of you all.
9th July – Year 1:
Year 1 used the ipads today to explore with the Beebot app and Daisy the Dinosaur. They didn’t have a long session (3 problems – one ipad hadn’t been returned for charging so was dead, the lead had been disconnected from the charging box at the box end and so it wasn’t charging the rest – low batteries, and also the internet was too slow to download the apps to all ipads as year 5 were using Popcorn maker and streaming video in the suite – need to increase bandwidth).
The children coped very well with the ipads and were good at taking turns and figuring out what to do.. Daisy the Dinosaur requires a certain level of reading skills but the groups managed between them and enjoyed the challenges.
Tomorrow, years 1 & 2 are taking the ipads to the Transport Museum and will use cameras to take photos to make subsequent presentations on the ipads. School trips may require special carrying bags for the ipads as they are quite heavy and cumbersome with their guerrilla cases!