iPads in the Classroom part 2

iPadYes! A second meeting with some highly motivated people! I was looking forward to this one, although life at school was/is pretty hectic, working towards the exams and all, everybody tried to picture a classroom filled with tablets, yet how do we achieve this? We discussed a couple of items:

  • Apps?
    +250 000 to choose from! Which ones can a teacher use in the classroom?
    Next month I’ll be introducing new apps to the group so they can have a better understanding of what is possible with the device. A lot of colleagues pointed out that this was very important to them. By showing them how different apps work, they can translate apps to lesson materials, ideas,…
  • Is it mandatory to create new course materials when working with the iPad?
    It’s not necessary to create a new syllabus from the ground up, however restructuring your work could be very favorable. Maybe it’s possible to create new/different assignments to the existing course materials you already have, but now you could let the students produce new outcomes due to the new sources you could offer!
  • Where do we start? Which group of students would we like to begin teaching, using the iPad?
    After debating different options, the choice was set on a 9th grade class, preferably a “human sciences” group. In our Belgian school system it’s possible for teacher to teach in the 9th grade and the 10th as well (11th and 12th grade are restricted to teachers with a masters degree). This offers certainty in continuation! Teachers who start the project could be enabled to teach the same group the year after. Also the human sciences are a study keen on research and presentations. Maybe this could be a good starting point since the course lends itself to the new pedagogy, making it easier for starting teachers to find their form in this iPad project.
  • Devices, devices…
    I would like to hire a couple of devices for teachers to play with. Not everybody owns a tablet at the moment, although a lot of my colleagues would like to. This way they can try out the device, see how it works, exercise and get an overall feel for it.
  • Compensation?
    Is it be possible to make sure the people who start with the project get one or two hours a week exempt from other school duties to sit together, share ideas or experiences,… Basically, they would get a time and a place just to share and learn from each other! I wonder how others look on this…
  • Financial aspect
    The cost of the iPad cannot increase the current expenditures! Quite the contrary, the superfluous materials should create the financial space to cover the iPad, or a substantial part of it. Will we work with payment plans? Leasing the devices? How about insurance? Do we need lockers to protect the iPads when the students are out?

A lot of work still lies ahead of us, however, I do sense something is in the air though. People are starting to warm to the idea of changing their ways of teaching!

More to come, next year!

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