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This is not an argument between iPad and Android or an examination of Chromebooks against laptops..
If you read my blog regularly you will know that I started very much involved with iPads. Working with schools around implementation and use of iPads in the classroom. However working in different infrastructures has given me cause to consider the use of tablets in general – how do teachers and learners actually use tablets in the classroom?
It’s worth noting that many of the teachers are new to tablets, and whilst this is not a checklist, many teachers go through stages of use with the technology in the classroom.
Uses of tablets:
- On the go research: Children and teachers with tablets will literally leave no question unanswered. Of course, any classroom computer can be used for this and the digital literacy skills gained from research are very valuable!
- Photographs: I quickly find that a classroom with tablets gets used to having lots of photographs taken. Digital leaders can photograph school events, the tablets can be taken on trips and teachers can quickly use them in lessons. The key lesson here is to ensure that the photographs can be taken from the tablet easily, a networked printer or an automatic blog for example.
- Support and stretch: A common use of tablets in the classroom seemed to be to support and to challenge. A teaching assistant, for example, would have an app to support. A higher ability group may be asked to produce a video detailing a different viewpoint or publishing results. All tablets can be used for this, and apps such as Explain Everything or Book Creator are useful for this purpose.
- E-safety conversations: By necessity, the conversations around e-safety need to take place more frequently once the technology is in place.
- Collaboration: Because most of the classrooms I’ve seen didn’t have 1:1 tablets. Collaboration happened naturally. For example, reading a text in pairs, highlighting key points. Working together on a specific app. When creating content this becomes even more apparent.
- Blogs: Updating blogs, responding to blog posts, looking at other pupil blogs becomes so much easier when the technology to do so is at your fingertips.
There will be more behaviours seen, and others that will be an indirect result of the technology. I’m convinced, for example, that the pupils become used to asking a wider variety of questions and become more independent. That’s another subject though!
Rebecca Stacey is now based in Cumbria, and interested in games, films, education & tech… not necessarily in that order! Previous Deputy Head in East London. Headteacher of gorgeous village school!