Now technology has finally caught up with teachers’ ambitions to take learning beyond the four walls of the classroom, and the weather is beginning to get a bit better, it’s time to consider how to use tablets in the classroom (and out of it).
Most teachers find this depends on the task at hand. Deep work and concentration is probably better undertaken in a different environment to that of collaborative research project. Students and teachers are increasingly demanding the same ICT experience at school, at home and wherever they are.
Location independent working has been around ages in business and public sector. In education we were stuck for ages ‘save all of your stuff on a USB key’ mode, which in today’s environment of safeguarding is in no way something your school, LA or MAT could ever condone.
Those that do it well always cite developing the culture as being key. Here are some of the top things to consider if you want to get truly mobile with your teaching and learning.
Get staff on board
It’s important to bring staff on the journey with you from the very beginning. Identify advocates within the organisation, invite them to a working group or even get all fancy and set up a more sustainable carousel group. This can help to define the way you do things, give you some great feedback and ideas and also provide an important cultural foundation for progression too.
SLT is key
It should go without saying, but whether you’re the Head or a passionate NQT, getting the Senior Leadership Team on board is critical. Leadership is such a key driver of culture, you could end up a busy fool if you put lots of leg work into launching something and you don’t have the support you need. When trying to get them on board, think about what matters to them. It might be difficult to link the project with improved outcomes in itself – other hooks like Ofsted, improved parental engagement, moving forward with metacognitive learning, and enabling a more creative curriculum might be enough to get that pitch sorted.
Don’t forget the tech
For a culture to flourish, people need to have a sense of community. Individual members of the community need to have a voice. Without the right technology in place to support the ambition, it’s unlikely that a cultural change would occur. The experience for pupils on the bus, teachers on the train on the way home, or for the business manager at home needs to be consistent, stable and quick. For a location independent learning culture to emerge, whether teachers decide to take a class and some iPads to the local park, the playground or the library, they need to feel confident that the tech will just work. Anything else is a sure fire way to collapse a culture.
Some pertinent questions often include:
- What is the right device for each learner (these are rarely consistent across users and year groups).
- What is the right device for each staff member? (Remember, you want them to use it everywhere. They need to love it not loathe it)!
- What apps and software is required to meet your objectives – both curriculum and admin?
- What broadband and network will support this?
Actions and behaviours
A few things to consider here. How are you going to recognise success? Being up front about the ambitions behind the change is going to give you a benchmark for success. It will also help with your storytelling for staff, pupils and SLT. Stats are cool. When Tibshelf Community School rolled out their new location independent learning programme, it was a few weeks before Christmas. When everyone was back after stuffing themselves with turkey, the Network Manager noticed there had been 3 pupils that had logged into their mobile learning platform on Christmas Day! They made a big song and dance about it internally and it helped nudge the cultural change that step further. Consistently celebrating successes, and indeed failures, can be a powerful way to encourage the right behaviours in students and staff.
Help is at hand
If you need any help with how to use tablets in the classroom in your school, academy group or local authorities then we’d love to have a chat. We offer free consultancy sessions initially to help you iron out a plan that works. Contact us or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your session today.