Friday 21 June 2019

iPads in class: A review

We started our rollout of just under 200 iPads in January and thought it was about time to touch base and reflect on what we have achieved thus far. Let's take a look!

The start

But first, some background. We took the decision to start with teachers before students. I covered the reasons behind this in more detail in the "most important people in a school post, but in short, we felt the need to properly train and equip our teachers before we unleashed the beast of students with devices!

Each teacher was given a 10.5" iPad Pro with an Apple pencil and Smart Keyboard - literally the best device we could provide. We went through some initial testing and decided on the iPad as our device of choice (you can read about it here).

Teachers also come to me for dedicated timetabled Tech Training once a fortnight. This gives me the opportunity to touch base with them and support them on their journey of becoming more tech-savvy and taking risks in their classroom to create rich and engaging learning experiences (I don't mind if you get a little sick at the sound of that, I did as I'm typing it!).

Phase 2

Friday 14 June 2019

Cape Town Google Summit 2019

Excited to be in a room full of teachers who are clearly very passionate about what they do!

The day started with a great keynote by Chris Betcher (@betchaboy) who really inspired everyone to reconsider the role of technology in teaching. He highlighted a few key points, but something that I really enjoyed was:

If you want students to perform you have to 

  1. Give them something to care about
  2. Give them the tools they need
  3. Give them choices
  4. Get out of their way

 Just take a minute to reflect on this and how you do this in your own classroom.

An Edtechteam Summit allows you to choose the sessions that you want to attend, so there is literally something for everyone. I decided to attend a session hosted by @dylanlangheim on how they have integrated coding into their curriculum, something that is becoming commonplace and an absolute necessity. If you haven't thought about how to bring this into your own school, I recommend you look into it ASAP.

Some useful places to start would be, or Tynker or even Scratch.

I'll check back in later!

In the next session with Chris Bletcher (@bletchyboy) ...

Wednesday 5 June 2019

iPadOS for Education - will it be any good?

Like a proper tech guy, I spent the majority of Monday evening watching the live stream of Apple's WWDC event.

I watched Tim Cook announce the latest developments in new software as well as one notable new piece of hardware. I just heard today that the top spec'd Mac Pro would set you back over R500,000...yikes! Also, did someone say cheese?

But let’s talk about iPadOS!

It’s about time that Apple realises the iPad is a unique piece of hardware that sits somewhere between a fully fledged computer and a phone. The touch interface means that it lends itself more to a mobile operating system, hence iOS having been the choice thus far. But the announcement that the iPad would get its own dedicated OS is a good thing.

So out of all the features announced, which ones will have the greatest impact for us teachers in the classroom? Let’s have a look.