Tim Scratcherd (the School House Partnership) and I were recently asked to write a report for the Oxford Education School Improvement Series on the use of Tablets and Apps. The purpose of this report is to provide practical support and guidance for school leadership teams who are considering the purchase of tablet devices. The report is aimed at school leaders and teachers in England but the ideas within the report are transferable to other parts of the world.
With permission from Oxford I’ll be duplicating some of the report on olliebray.com over the next week. You can download the full report or order a paper copy over at the new Oxford School Improvement Tablet and App Help Centre.
Part Three - Tablets and Apps: How to ensure impact on teaching and learning – What does good learning with tablets look like?
There is no doubt that good technology integration has the potential to be transformational. This is particularly the case if you decide to go down the route of 1:1, where there is one Internet enabled device for each child in your class/school. It is important to note that technology integration of this scale and teaching with tablets will have an impact on models of learning and teaching.
It is also important that teachers and school leaders have thought about what this new type of pedagogy might look like within a tablet environment before any large-scale deployment. If you have not done this then the technology is more likely to become a distraction to learning rather than have the transformation impact that it deserves.
Tablets, teaching and learning
When we consider what teaching and learning might look like in a tablet environment it is important that we focus on what makes learning good and how technology can improve the learning and teaching process.
The concept of Exciting Learning from Microsoft captures some of the components that make learning engaging for young people.
For learning to be successful it needs to be:
- Culturally relevant
- Include real-time interaction
- Provide different learning pathways
- Showcase learning achievements through authentic audiences
- Accessible to all
The information below provides some further background on each of these principles and the full report outlines what these principals might look like when applied to a tablet and app learning environment. A major factor with Exciting Learning is that, because pupils are highly motivated, you get more learning. This idea is important to further justify the investment.
- CULTURALLY RELEVANT: Learners learn best when they can see the point of what they are learning and how it relates to them. We can also help them engage with their learning more by using tools that they like to use.
- INCLUDE REAL-TIME INTERACTION: Learners like it when teachers use information that is current and up-to-date. They also like to engage with real people either face-to-face or via videoconference.
- PROVIDE DIFFERENT LEARNING PATHWAYS: Learners like to have a choice of output. Sometimes this choice of output can be incredibly motivating as it gives a more focused and personalised end point for children to aim towards.
- SHOWCASE LEARNING ACHIEVEMENTS THROUGH AUTHENTIC AUDIENCE: Learners like to have the work that they are proud of showcased to people who care about them. Authentic audience is an important aspect of motivation.
- ACCESSIBLE TO ALL: Learners need to be able to learn in a variety of places at a variety of times. This includes in school, at home and everywhere in between. Technology can also make learning accessible for learners who have additional support needs.
A few words about assessment
Good pupil assessment should use a combination of both summative and formative techniques. Tablet technology integrated in the right way offers opportunities for both.
For example, summative tests can be administered to learners individually through the use of multiple-choice tests and other assessment generators such as Quizlet, Google Forms (part of Google apps for Education) and SharePoint 2010 (part of Microsoft Office 365 for Education).
However the real power of tablet technology is the opportunity to build on current formative assessment practices and to provide learners with digital feedback on their work and progress.
For example, tablet technology, particularly in 1:1 environments, allows learners to quickly comment on other pupils’ digital work (such as using Google Docs, which are part of Google Apps for Education). It also allows pupils to quickly be able to record their achievements through digital learning logs and e-portfolio solutions (such as SharePoint Blogs, which are part of Microsoft 365 for Education).
In my next post I’ll discuss Choosing and using tablets? – you can download the full “Tablets and Apps: How to ensure impact on teaching and learning” report now for free over on the Oxford School Improvement Site.