The iPad and Pedagogy

There is a running theme on this blog – ‘it’s not about the device’. I expected this view to be challenged by a visit to ESSA Academy in Bolton where they refer to an ‘ecosystem’ using Apple technology. I was prepared for technological practice that would be difficult to comprehend and a new building with an infrastructure we couldn’t hope to replicate. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Sure the devices are everywhere you look. Every student has an iPodtouch, every teacher has an iPad and MacbookAir which makes it easy to transfer work from student to staff and from home to school. However, ESSA staff don’t talk about the device in isolation. They talk about learning, pedagogy and making a difference to students lives. The device just makes that difference ‘more achievable’.

Showk Badat (Principal of ESSA academy) refers to a ‘productive pedagogy’ where collaboration is essential to learning. There is an emphasis on faith and learning that is supported by asking the question ‘why are we teaching?’ It is clear that Showk’s vision is that learning is paramount and technology used to be a barrier. Apple products now enhance learning with instant-on and tools for collaboration. Apple has been chosen because it is the market leader for what they are trying to achieve at ESSA, high quality learning.

On an ancillary level the academy appears to be finding ways to adapt much easier with the technology. Their philosophy of ‘if it doesn’t work, change it’ is hastened by the ability of students and teachers to modify their working practice. True, the working environment allows for ‘pods of learning’ and 21st Century classrooms that lend themselves to creation and discovery. However, the learning would not be enhanced without the vision of the Principal and teachers in the Academy. You only have to speak to the students to realise that there is now a learning culture at the school that didn’t exist before.

The device has been part of the transition and promotes pedagogical discussion as it is a tangible resource. It won’t work as a learning tool on it’s own and requires an infrastructure led by a Principal who believes learning and students are the drivers of decision making.

About Daniel Edwards
Director of Innovation & Learning at the Stephen Perse Foundation schools, Cambridge, UK (stephenperse.com). Interested in global connectivity for all and risk taking in education. Keen to discuss all aspects of learning and digital strategy. Also @syded06 on twitter.

21 Responses to The iPad and Pedagogy

  1. Pingback: An iPad School – Top 10 Tips « syded

  2. wjputt says:

    Reblogged this on web20forschoolleaders and commented:
    Both of us visited the ESSA Academy on different days and we share the same views on the use of technology to reduce the barriers to learning. The learning is the key though.

  3. Pingback: The iPad and Pedagogy « syded » Elate for Technology News .. Belong

  4. Pingback: The iPad and Pedagogy « Tech Tools

  5. loremipsem says:

    Reblogged this on Tommy found a real book. and commented:
    I like that this is about the technology and not the device. It is easy to get caught up in what the tool does without stopping to reflect on why.

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  19. J Wilson says:

    > ESSA Academy in Bolton where they refer to an ‘ecosystem’ using Apple technology

    Oh dear, do they really?

    It sounds as if they’ve fallen for hollow US-style marketing newspeak. It’s a shame that it gets a foothold in what ought to be an educational environment.

    • Thanks for commenting. I don’t work for Apple but I have to say their products have enhanced my teaching. It might be worth trying it out to see if it has a place. As I understand it 8 million iPads have been sold to schools. That is a lot of decision makers.

  20. jameswilding says:

    As a school with an alternative ecosystem, GAFE and Chrome books, almost all maps from Apple. We start trialling 7″ androids in June, then I think we take significant leap ahead. Chrome books are awesome devices for school deployment.

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