Jay Ashcroft is director at LearnMaker, one of the UK’s leading training and consultancy companies specialising in education. Jay has worked with over 200 schools to better help them procure, deploy and benefit from Apple technologies across the spectrum of the UK education system. A passionate educator at heart, Jay spent his early career teaching music to children as young as five. As director at LearnMaker, he now enjoys helping schools maximise their impact from mobile technology and ICT. He’ll be discussing his written articles in more detail through his video blogs.
Project based learning (PBL) is perhaps the greatest resource hardly being used in UK schools. Teachers are increasingly being asked to do more with less, and there’s never been a better time to reinvent classroom learning than now. Despite the mounting pressures on schools, a huge advantage all still hold is in the freedom to deliver the National Curriculum by how they see fit. There’s also a wealth of research to support PBLs uptake in the classroom:
What separates the successful mobile learning projects from the unsuccessful? This is a ‘million dollar’ question, and I’ve thought long and hard about it. From the 17 large 1:1 projects I’ve worked on, only three have been truly successful in producing transformational learning. In your own experience, how many schools do you know who have transformed learning vs how many you know rely on iPads as laptop placements, focusing on web browsing and research functions only? I’m sure you’ll draw similar conclusions to my own, but if a handful of schools can transform learning with mobile devices, how do we replicate it across more schools? I believe I’ve found the answer.
The relationship between Ofsted and school technology is an issue relevant to every school. If yours isn’t one of the 70% of schools using iPads or tablets, you’ve probably had discussions about whether or not to go ahead and implement them. What I’m going to talk about should be of interest, then, because Ofsted’s focuses are shifting, and the progression towards attention to tablet computing has been swift.
Over the last 100 years in teaching, how much has changed? Could you take a teacher from 1915 and drop them into a modern classroom? Apart from the strange haircuts and unfamiliar clothes they’d barely notice the difference, because the majority of school is still lecture driven. The teacher stands at the front, disseminating knowledge to the students. Now undertake the same scenario but with a surgeon. Bring a surgeon forward 100 years and it’s a different story. In a modern operating room our time traveller would be overwhelmed with sights and sounds. This is because technology has revolutionised surgery.
70% of UK schools are now using mobile devices in the classroom, according to Tablets for Schools. The vast majority of those devices are likely to be iPads, yet how many schools can you name who are standout users of the device? That is to say, how many schools are using the device to deliver true 21st century transformational lessons?