Before looking forward to what 2013 may bring, it is important to look at the progress we have made in 2012. In my opinion, there have been many improvements to the systems and infrastructure in place in our school, most of which goes unnoticed when things work. The VLE continues to be a well used resource and SAM Learning is continuing to grow from strength to strength.
However, the most visible change has been the introduction of iPads in school as both a teacher and student resource. The initial bank of bookable iPads has exceeded our expectations and staff are using this in many creative and engaging ways. Feedback from students is very positive in regards to the use of technology but more importantly the are aware of the positive impact on their learning.
Some of the apps used, including Explain Everything, allow students to approach tasks/activities in a way which challenges their deeper understanding of their learning. The iPads have been used well by all ability levels and some students are producing content and resources that they would not of had the confidence to attempt in another medium. The use of iPads will continue to grow this year and learning will evolve with it in our school. The number of apps at our disposal is ever growing but the most note worthy include: Phoster, Evernote, Explain Everything, Comic Life, Class Dojo, and Twitter.
Looking forward to 2013, we will add more iPads and apps to our school but the most valuable asset is that of our staff and students. As has been the case for the last few years, there will be many focused “Teaching & E-learning” workshops and Teachmeets. These have proved very successful in the past and have an important role to play in raising standards of sharing best practice too.
However, one of my main aims is to fully utilise the role of our student Digital Leaders. We always encourage student voice but the Digital Leader programme will allow students to take a more proactive role in aligning their and their peers learning where ICT is involved. It is my aim to have Digital Leaders to support their peers and staff in the roll out of new technologies, as they are the “digital native”.
I can’t finish this post without mentioning Twitter and the wealth of resources hat are at teachers disposal through building up a PLN. So many great ideas, shared views, and collaboration takes place and it is all for free! Great people to follow include @TeacherToolkit and his #5minlesonplan, @TotallyWired77 and @ICTEvangelist. Maybe you should consider setting up an account? See the image below from @teamtait for more on the reasons why.
There are many more exciting ventures planned for the year ahead, and as one of my work based resolutions is to blog weekly, there will certainly be more discussion on the progress of Digital Leaders and iPads. Also, this is only a snippet of the bigger picture that is developing in the school. It is great credit to the staff that they are embracing changes and rising to the challenges of new technologies.