iPad Trial Considerations
- Wireless Network
- Listen (Reflective discussion and concerns)
The number one consideration for iPad implementation is a wireless network. When the network functions, any issues with iPads can be overcome and usually are linked to the user not the technology. However, if the wireless is intermittent, learning with the iPad can be really hampered for some, particularly those who don’t have a firm grasp on use.
I have no doubt that when students and teachers are more comfortable with the technology they will be able to adapt to any wireless issue as the iPad has a myriad of applications for learning. However, if you have planned to use the browser,Socrative or Dropbox for example, then the network can provide a reason for apathy and barriers are formed.
Thankfully we have a resilient staff who are prepared for trial and error and if something doesn’t work then move on and find a solution. It may well be different if every class had an iPad but with one group, the odd problem can be overcome.
I concur that the only way to support the implementation of iPads is to allow for numerous training opportunities and troubleshooting time. Members of staff need to feel they have someone to talk to and the response needs to be as immediate as possible. In reality this means responding to emails, popping in to lessons and removing the fear of ‘what if?’. This contact time is already reaping rewards for some staff and there is a desire to learn more. For others, who are currently overloaded with assessments, it is much more difficult to progress as explanations aren’t easy to come by. Therefore, the ideal scenario is one centred around the availability of support.
This links to the learning curve and participants having a voice. Although it is early on in the process, the students appear to be very fast learners with the technology. Contact time with the whole group has moved on to selecting the right application for the right outcome and not referring to usability. Again it has helped that the class are working together so can help each other – a luxury not afforded to staff very often. Indeed staff are hampered by the trial being another add-on with little reduction in normal workload. Hopefully this will ease as the exam period passes but it is difficult to learn anything under the burden of out testing regime.
Even though the trial is a three month project, I firmly believe it will take at least twelve months for all involved to feel truly comfortable with the challenge of integrating new techniques. The pedagogy forms the basis for many a conversation and is a real prompt for debate. Depending on educational belief, the iPad and it’s apps will divide many professionals for months to come. Therefore the role of those leading the trial must continue to focus on reassurance, guidance and support.
No question too difficult and no problem too small.