Several classes at the Effent school now work with iPads. But how did they introduce the iPad? And, in doing so, what worked and what didn’t?
By introducing and working with iPads, the school wants to involve students more actively in lessons, differentiate by level and give them more control of their own learning process, by means of a digital portfolio for example. To achieve all this, a pilot has been started with a first-year class. “We decided to start with one class, involving all the teachers who teach that particular class in the process,” explains school manager Adriënne de Kock. “We wanted to start modestly and take small steps.”
Some of the first things that had to be organised were the necessary preconditions, such as Wi-Fi, learning materials, the ordering application for parents, the choice of reseller, setting up the iPad. Also important was the information flow towards parents, explaining how students were selected and who pays for the iPad.
According to Adriënne, the training of teachers and the time it would take to develop the necessary teaching materials were also of great importance to the success of this innovation. “This is why, for the duration of the pilot, we scheduled a weekly joint development hour for the 12 teachers who were involved, enabling them to learn together and from one another.”
“The weekly development hours were instrumental in ensuring we really felt like a team and that we were aware of what everyone else was doing,” says teacher Judith van Sprundel. “We were also able to give each other tips and highlight any problems that manifested themselves. As it turned out, it was less effective for developing material, for the simple reason that you cannot really achieve much in just 50 minutes. I now try to use the iPad in every lesson. In the pilot class I introduced iTunes U, for exchanging material with the students and to flip the classroom. I spend more time on formative tests and I allow students to use the camera to make videos.”
The first 12 teachers to be involved in the pilot hosted a workshop in which they informed their peers and shared their experiences. “In the plenary opening of the workshop a teacher who normally keeps a relatively low profile in the school spoke very enthusiastically about the pilot,” adds Adriënne. “This had a powerful effect, proving that it can be very useful to let someone else voice their opinion like this.” The end result of all this is that more teachers have enrolled for the follow-up and the team of teachers working with the iPad has now increased from 12 to 26.
In conclusion, Judith enthuses that the iPads pilot has also enabled her to develop personally and, in doing so, she has been named an Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) by Apple. “Now, in my capacity as an ADE, I have access to a worldwide network of other ADEs. This is an incredible source of inspiration and it’s a place I can go to to solve possible problems with the iPads. In practice this has proved to be of immense value.”