Last year, Rushey Mead School expanded their use of iPads to support a range of subjects areas, investing in 45 new devices. The school is sharing successes and lessons learnt through a variety of channels, including the Rushey Mead Twitter account – @RusheyMeadTL. Here, the school reflect on the early impacts of introducing iPads to the English, Maths and Science departments.
What staff training and development has taken place in relation to the iPads? How was the effectiveness of this training measured? Is any additional training is being provided?
The e-learning Theme Group were visited by Apple Trainer Fil Crisi who shared many ideas for using iPads in the classroom. As some Science staff had not used iPads before, Ms Clementson (Teacher of Science and iPad Sci Champion) ran “iPads for complete beginners” in September, which was open to all staff. She also ran a session for science faculty staff on using the Quizlet and Socrative apps as part of school professional development programme. All training events were evaluated via a Survey Monkey questionnaire, which the Professional Learning team use to capture feedback. iPad techniques were also shared at the school e-learning theme group meeting in January, which includes Maths and English ‘pioneer’ level staff. The IT Support team are currently investigating the use of AirPlay to display iPad content via the classroom projectors and share students’ work. We are measuring effectiveness through faculty reviews (Maths and English), staff surveys (Science), and through the forthcoming Challenge Partners Review.
What has been the impact of the devices purchased in June 2014?
Case Study – Ms M Cliffe: English
In the English Faculty iPads have been successfully used in the classroom to support a variety of teaching and learning strategies. Almost immediately we were able to facilitate students in carrying out quick, effective and impactful on-line research (social/historical context, history of the language) where traditional laptops would have proved too slow, cumbersome or time consuming. During creative writing the iPads have proved useful as a dictionary / thesaurus either on-line or through the excellent dictionary apps available. This has in particular benefitted and supported our less able students who can find a traditional dictionary difficult to engage with and are put off using them. Use of dictionary / thesaurus apps have allowed students to widen their vocabulary far more readily than before. The app ‘Showbie’ has been used for sharing mark schemes/resources, to allow students to self / peer assess and actively engage with feedback to move their learning on. This has also had the added benefit for the faculty budget in that it has greatly cut down on printing costs! The students have also made use of the iPads built-in audio/video recording capability to record role plays/drama activities allowing them to gain evidence of their speaking and listening skills which they can then reflect on, improve and see progress. More generally the iPads have been used to create interactive presentations to share with the rest of the class, read on-line News articles using the ‘Reader’ feature and readily access revision apps / sites.
In the coming terms we aim to begin creating Storyboards / Books with Year 10 using the ‘Book Creator‘ App and are working with the e-Learning Group and Educational Technologists in School to investigate more efficient ways of downloading work from the iPads for sharing.
Case Study – Mr K Ronald: Maths
Year 10 students have been using iPads in lessons to access and engaging with the Rushey Mead Maths YouTube Channel to view videos explaining syllabus material as many times as students need. For example, how to graph data and look for correlations. Lower ability learners, a focus group for the Maths faculty, have especially benefitted as they are able to revisit and reinforce instruction allowing them to build confidence and develop skills. In addition for formative feedback, Socrative has also been used to poll students on what they know and don’t know, which allows the teacher to work with targeted students and address misconceptions more readily.
Case Study – Ms P Patel: Maths
A Year 9 set 2 out of 5 (group 1 is the most able) used the iPads with the focus of ‘Drawing and exploring the properties of straight line graphs.’ Desmos is a graph plotter which was used via the iPads, it is available online and free of charge. Desmos allows the user to input a function and it will plot a graph of that function within parameters provided by the user, this made the plotting of line graphs far more engaging, meaningful and immediate for the students. Their task was to create a picture consisting entirely of straight line graphs using Desmos. As Desmos is very user friendly the students were able to work independently and explore how it works, supporting ‘discovery learning’. Once the students were confident with using Desmos they were set the task to creating a picture. The group were engaged and enthused throughout, many producing more than one picture. This resulted in line graphs being successfully grasped within a week (2 lessons plus one homework). Such was the impact of this case study that the iPads are now regularly used in Maths for Socractive quizzes with various groups across both key stages.
Case Study – Ms S Clementson: Science
In Science it was decided that each iPad would have a number of apps installed, which were to be categorised as: ‘Student tools’, ‘Staff tools’, ‘Subject (Bio, Chem, Phy)’, ‘SSSI’ (sites of scientific interest), ‘Games and quizzes’ and revision. It was envisaged that these would be in appropriate folders but we have abandoned that idea as students could easily move around the app icons. From this original list we have now added other apps more recently: ‘Colour uncovered‘, ‘Interactive science glossary: Physical science‘ (cpo science)’, ‘Sound uncovered (explotorium)’ and ‘BioBots Undersea Rescue’ – pictured being used below.
So far, five of the 12 Science Faculty staff have used iPads with their classes. Staff are using the following apps: Socrative, Quizlet, i-motion, QR code reader, Reaction Test, Show Me. The devices are also being used for internet research. One Year 8 group of students has requested quizzes on Quizlet to prepare for topic tests with some students using it to help with other subjects. This has been a particularly enthusiastic group who hopefully will participate in a school Bring Your Own Device pilot. Interestingly 9M5, a lower ability group, wanted to write out the words and the meanings when we used Quizlet. This served as a useful reminder of the needs of different groups of students and to take account of this when using the iPads. Where staff have used the iPads student engagement has improved, students worked more independently and staff were able to quickly receive and act on assessment feedback (in particular, using Socrative). At first the pace of lessons was slower as students and staff familiarised themselves with apps, however, as more staff are using the iPads, confidence is growing.
At least one group in every year has now been given the opportunity to use the iPads. We are now looking to move forward by integrating the iPads into schemes of work which means preparing more resources for apps such as Quizlet and Socrative. To facilitate this a departmental Quizlet account has been opened with quizzes categorised by year and by subject and started to populate them. At least 5 teachers have set up groups for their classes to make quizzes easier to find. Still a way to go but we are certainly moving forward with the best of intentions!