Daniel Edwards

Daniel Edwards

Daniel is a technology convert in the classroom: iPad, Social Media and Edmodo in use with a ‘flipped’ class. Currently conducting 1:1 iPad2 trial in school.

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Teacher Daniel Edwards, who uses iPads with his A-Level PE class, has reported the biggest improvement in his students' grades since he began teaching. He also comments on a record breaking set of GCSE results encountered at a Foundation in Cambridge after they implemented a 1:1 learning programme. This provides a great source of encouragement for adopters of the tablet into their lessons.

I should state from the outset I’m not sure the impact of any new technology in the classroom will ever be truly measurable.

It won’t be for the want of trying and there are a number of case studies trying to do just that. However, with that in mind, what conclusions can I draw from two years of iPad use in the classroom?

I have two areas that can be discussed anecdotally. The first is an A level class of 15 students who have spent the last two years studying PE using iPads. They recorded the best A-Level results in my ten years at the school. For those familiar with the way UK grades are measured, the value-added average was +17%.

Google has tripled free storage space, across Gmail, Google+ and Drive, bringing the total to 15GB.

This is a serious move by Google as it places the company at the forefront of cloud based solutions with other institutions working to tight financial constraints. Having turned to Google Drive as my main storage facility, I thought I would highlight some advantages of using the platform through 'how to' videos.

Advantages

  • Access files anytime on any device with an internet connection.
  • Work offline with documents.
  • Share files/documents with others and collaborate in real time.
  • Share folders with students and receive and feedback on assignments.
  • Allow read only access on documents and share with students as resource with no photocopying.
  • Save a document in a variety of formats.
  • Works with other Google Apps to provide platform for forms, surveys, projects.
  • Save to GoogleDrive with two taps of an icon or clicks of a mouse.
  • Search files in Drive for name or keyword.

Students are curious.

Without this curiosity, I don’t believe a Digital Leader programme would be so successful. Show them something they are interested in and they want to know more. If they come up against a barrier, they want to overcome it. If they can find out something no-one else knows, they want to share it. Successful Digital Leaders are the epitome of the curious student with more to offer schools than perhaps any other student body at this time. The classroom environment is changing and students and teachers need their help.

Digital Leader Responsibility

  • A guide when using technology to support learning
  • Exponent of new and existing applications
  • Trainer and supporter of school members including parental, teacher and student bodies

The example below is taken from our 1:1 iPad initiative which serves to illustrate how crucial Digital Leaders will be to the success of the rollout. It must be emphasised that the roles and responsibilities are transferable to any technology in schools. I would suggest that the process is a little easier if all students have the same device.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012 10:47

Twitter and the job interview

Professional development is cited as one of the main reasons to use Twitter. From questions asked to blog links shared, Twitter provides a ‘real time’ platform for anyone to discover information. Of course, there is the social aspect that dominates the platform, but a Twitter profile, with like-minded followers, allows for reasoned debate and conclusion in your chosen field.

Take the teaching profession. There are numerous educators on Twitter prepared to share experiences and resources. Once a Personal Learning Network has been built up, a teacher can usually find help/answers from one of their ‘colleagues’. Add to this the power of the hashtag and it is easy to see why the Twitter community is growing. Participation in an #edchat discussion with @tomwhitby, or a more specific debate, can lead to reams of information and links coming the way of the willing chat member. This helps to inform a decision or spark interest in a new activity.

So what does this have to do with a job interview?

Photo credit: Johan Larsson

Monday, 05 November 2012 11:27

Ofsted, Outstanding teaching and the iPad

If OFSTED were to walk into a lesson tomorrow they would see the following:

  • Prior to the lesson students would have viewed an 8-10 min screencast introducing the topic. This resource would have been produced and sent via Twitter to the students when appropriate.
  • Students would have uploaded work required to Edmodo that is then assessed, annotated and sent back to students again prior to the lesson. The nature of the work is determined by perceived difficulty of the topic.
  • The initial task would be a Socrative quiz to establish understanding for the lesson (AFL) – this often includes one multiple choice and two short answer questions.

DO

  1. Produce material for YOUR students to engage them outside the classroom. Generic content works as a starting point but students have greater faith in their own teacher’s input.
  2. Decide on a workflow solution and stick to it. I use Edmodo to set assignments and annotate responses. Students are happy with this solution as it is cross platform and supports learning with library and backpack resources.
  3. Set specific deadlines for your students. If they are given a date then unfortunately that can be construed as midnight! The old hand-in mantra of next lesson doesn’t fit the ‘flipped‘ class idea and as such can present a problem.
  4. Provide access for students who aren’t connected to the internet at home. Whether it be provision after school or via downloaded material, there will still be issues for home learning.
Tuesday, 04 September 2012 09:48

Top 10 iPad tips for personalised learning

It is very easy to find a list of recommended apps for general or subject specific use. However, one of the iPads greatest strengths is its ability to help personalise learning for all. The following ideas are only a snapshot of the potential of the iPad when addressing the needs of each student (soldier).

The Soldier

‘Quiet, obedient and consistent, the Soldier charges into every assignment and stops only once enough damage is done to get the desired grade. Soldiers don’t show off. Soldiers don’t ask questions. Soldiers don’t complain. Soldiers just get the job done.’

Trademark question: “What will we be graded on?”

iPad Tip: Create an audio-note using Soundcloud so they can review instructions. The educator can make suggestions for extension tasks. It also acts as an excellent prompt if the educator can see the soldier doesn’t want to collaborate.

If the iPad is making a ‘move’ on your classroom this year then these ten points are worth considering:

  1. Check your wireless network for everything from capacity to ‘dead-zones’. Leave no stone unturned, as a failing wireless network will severely hamper iPad use in school.

  2. Be hands on with apps/methods you might ask students to use and see what it is like to produce ‘work’. The iPad is just a device and, without an informed educator, it will be ineffective as a learning tool.

Parents have a very different perspective. Whilst educators wax lyrical about the potential of the iPad for learning, there are concerns from parents about its impact on their child. Or so we thought.

All parents of iPad trial students were asked to complete a questionnaire, attend a focus group meeting and email any further thoughts to inform the decision making progress for future iPad use. A great deal of time was taken by these parents as they were keen to convey their thoughts to inform the research process and we are very grateful for all their efforts.

Below are direct responses to questions from the focus group where parents were encouraged to discuss with each other the various advantages and disadvantages of the iPad for learning.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dgmckelvey

From a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) programme to a 1:1 iPad initiative, there are a number of options available to schools when embracing new technology in the classroom. Consequently, it is becoming common for school leaders to purchase one device to trial in the classroom before making any real financial commitment.

As the iPad is currently the ‘class leader’ in education, there are many educators who have found themselves with an iPad to ‘see what it can do?’ The challenge is to demonstrate enhanced learning, so here are ten suggestions that may help:

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnkarakatsanis

Monday, 28 May 2012 08:12

The iPad and student use

Students aren’t daunted by the iPad interface. They may take time to experiment and understand steps required to produce an outcome, but they will persevere. Having observed students at different stages of learning, across many subjects, it has become clear that students aren’t a barrier to learning with the iPad. If a process doesn’t work for a student, they will try something different. They collaborate with peers to produce quality work and will heed advice to move forward.

It compliments our wish as teachers that students should be more resilient in their learning, and I question why they are so prepared to persevere with the device? The answers given by students are telling.

Friday, 11 May 2012 13:19

Why iPad?

If you want to enhance learning for students then use an iPad. There, I’ve said it. Colours to the mast and no doubt scrutiny abounds. Whenever I find an issue there is a solution. Whenever a question is posed, there is an answer – for students and staff.

It’s a tool – another weapon in an educator's arsenal. The iPad is not the answer, the be all and end all, the cure to educational woe. It will enhance learning when used appropriately, at the right time and for the right reason. The point is, the iPad provides opportunity that hasn’t existed in mainstream education.

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