Over the past few years I have been a great advocate of class based action research projects. They allow me to focus on a particular aspect of eduation whereby I am given time to apply and reflect on my own teaching practice with the aim to improve it. At the end of March, I submitted a bid for £5000 that would pay for 15 iPads. My proposal was based on our needs at our school. The expected outcomes of buying and using the iPads in the classrom would be:
- Transform teaching and learning by changing the current classroom culture and embedding creative use of ICT
- Make the classroom teaching and learning more interactive and creative in facilitating learning
- Facilitate more personalised learning that is strongly linked to learners needs
- Raise expectations and reduce the gap for lower performers
- Raise standards in reading and writing for all
- Close the digital divide and improve standards for all children
- Motivate and engage reluctant readers and writers
- Provide a platform for developing speaking and listening skills which in turn impact positively on reading and writing skills
- Utilising emerging technologies in the classroom and exploring potential impact in supporting learning
- Develop and embed effective inclusion strategies for children with SEND
- Initiate an ICT cluster group to share good outcomes and practice
- Develop role of Digital Leaders
- Organise a Teachmeet/Kidsmeet
My baseline assessment is to target a cohort (unsure which year group at this point as not sure where I’ll be in September) in order to track, monitor and assess achievement and impact throughout the project. Writing and reading levels will be used as a baseline and ambitious targets set with a specific focus on targeting those children who are underachieving. Alongside this we would interview children on their attitudes to learning and engagement in this as well as parental observations on this. This would then be re-assessed at the end of the project. Interim data and performance indicators will be used to monitor the impact of ICT on learners.
Initial implementation of the iPads would be to provide a contextual hub for learning from which the children would utilise technology to develop language skills by accessing modelled apps, games and research. Reluctant writers and readers would be engaged and motivated by seeing, hearing and exploring good language with a view to communicate learning by sharing and having an audience. This could be achieved by provision and access to iPads and the wealth of opportunities they offer. The focus will be on talk for reading and writing and there are a number of apps and functions on the ipads which will support and enhance this.
By developing the use of ICT in one year group we will be able to use action research to target successful strategies to support learning in reading and writing through the development of language skills. This can then be disseminated to other classes and enhance the work of the school in raising standards.
Having a bank of iPads offers flexibility of learning as they could be rotated class to class or timetabled for use in class or in small groups across the school. The iPads will give us provision and access to all children across the school through a range of exciting opportunities. Other pockets of underachievement could then also be addressed using this medium.
As an aside, we have a number of children with SEND and believe Ipads will provide an additional focus for continued inclusion and enhanced learning. IPads would be instrumental in providing visual learning, helping with therapy and turn taking. These devices would also help non-verbal children communicate more effectively. These children are less likely in some instances to have access to ICT at home so we will be able to reduce the gap for them in their successful use of digital resources as part of learning.
I’m always looking for ways to improve learning and maintain motivation and engagement for the children I teach. This project is an exciting one which I cannot wait to get underway. I hope to post my progress throughout this project and share my findings.