Top Ten Student iPad Discoveries

It is with new found excitement and enthusiasm that I travel to work each and every day. The last two weeks have been extremely busy and truly exhausting. Deployment of almost 900 iPads and then conducting follow up workshops with each class has been demanding. Now I concentrate my efforts on working with large groups, small groups and coaching individuals in using the iPad in a manner that enhances work practice and enriches teaching and learning.

Since the commencement of the iPad rollout, I have discovered amazing things. I have also witnessed various things that require attention, nevertheless, the introduction of slate technology has sparked numerous 'light bulb moments' and also revealed some interesting discoveries.

Here are my Top Ten Student iPad Discoveries;

1. Collaboration

Students are working together productively. The majority of students are helping each other learn different ways of doing things. Students who would otherwise not engage in conversation have been drawn together through the use of technology. iPads have assisted social skills and allowed disengaged students to connect with peers in new and meaningful ways. Furthermore, students that were already well acquainted and working together to construct songs using Garage Band. The students have been allocating sound projects to each other and sharing them using Bluetooth because it is exciting and is something purely aligned with their personal interest, abilities and skills.

2. Substitution

Students are working with Evernote and Notability and identifying the most suitable means to take notes in class. Meanwhile in the Primary School classroom students are using Pages and emailing their teacher their completed work. In the near future classes will begin to use Book Creator to make digital texts. In addition, various students are starting to use native Apps including Reminders and Calendars to become organized and productive. It seems that there has been rapid uptake in using the device to change traditional ways of working.

3. Exploration and Invention

In Biology classes last week a group of students needed to look through the microscope lens and draw their findings and label their diagram. Numerous students discovered that if the iPad camera was held against the eye lens that an image could be captured and opened in any number of applications and the image labeled. In addition, students are beginning to discover that presentations can be conducted in numerous ways. Rather than using Keynote as a substitution for PowerPoint, individual students are exploring the range of Apps within the App Store to present their content in unique ways that represent their individual style.

4. iMessage and FaceTime

Students quickly became familiar with Native Apps. As long as Contacts are populated with the address details of their friends they can use a text message or video call to commuicate. These facilities have been used mainly during morning tea and lunch. In the near future this method of connectivity may be discouraged, however, various students have been using FaceTime in a sporting way. I have seen students using FaceTime as a modern Hide and Seek. Basically, they call their friend and their contact needs to recognize the surroundings of the person within the video conference call and locate them. iMessage and FaceTime have amazing advantages and these will be identified in a future post.

5. Emailing and Netiquette

I have seen emails and received emails that demonstrate that the entire student body requires coaching in netiquette. In some circumstances iMessaging has been used and preferably this is not a professional means of communication.
Primary School Students store their iPads on a classroom bookshelf. What a novel idea!
6. WiFi

Various families do not have WiFi and need to rely on the school infrastructure. While this is certainly welcomed it can be difficult for families to come to College to use our WiFi due to work commitments and busy time schedules. Our unlimited bandwidth makes download of Apps easy and cost affective. While some students have been finding it challenging, some iPads for unknown reasons drop in and out of school WiFi. Despite this happening occasionally the devices can easily reconnect.

7. Damages

Despite the use of quality protective cases there have been several damages. It is essential that students maintain extreme care in the use of their iPad. Silly activity is when damages are most likely to occur. Various individuals found that their iPad or iPad chargers were faulty and due to Apple Care Protection replacement has not yet been an issue.

8. Stumbling Blocks

Some students have downloaded games on their iPad. Parents and students are to be reminded that the iPad is not to be used as a gaming device as games are alluring and can distract learners from dedicating themselves to study. It is imperative that stumbling blocks are removed to ensure that excellence in school performance and academic results are achieved.

9. Attachment

As students arrive and leave school, it seems that students are carrying their devices in their hands or under their arm. The iPad is in a protective case, however, during travel the iPad should be stored in the school bag. It is highly recommended that water bottles are stored in a different compartment to reduce the possibility of water damage. Some students seem to be achieving amazing things and I have seen senior students conducting outstanding presentations as a result of thorough investigation and research.

10. Contagious Learning

I have seen numerous Apps discovered and findings are spreading quickly. '4 Pictures 1 Word' is a free App and many students seem to have downloaded the application on their device. During morning tea and lunch breaks I have seen students working together to solve the various puzzles. The application is highly educational and tests students literacy skills. In contrast, numerous students downloaded 'SnapChat' and this application has since been blocked on our network. While this may have occurred, almost all of the students are learning new ways of doing things and it is spreading. Learning is contagious.

There will be more discoveries along the way, however, I am proud of the iPad rollout and deployment procedures. I believe that we were well planned. Serial numbers were scanned and added to our data base. The identification numbers appeared in spreadsheet and were paired with redemption codes for the iLife and iWork Applications. Mail Merge was used to send individual codes to students to complete App purchases. The entire process went smoothly and today we discovered we have twenty three iPads left and twenty three iTunes Cards. This is evidence that we have ran a tight ship and have everything accounted for. After the process of deployment it is pleasing to see the immediate fruit of the labor. Now begins the process of modification, augmentation and redefinition of the teaching and learning cycle.


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