There is no doubt that learning is central to thinking at ESSA Academy. A visit is based on talk of pedagogy and enhancing student life (iPad and Pedagogy). However, there are many lessons to be learned about the implementation of new technology in a school and ESSA, in particular Abdul Chohan, are very happy to help.
- Technology must not be a barrier to learning – if the technology doesn’t work for staff and students then it won’t work to enhance learning.
- If technology works then its use must not be hampered by minority issues. The fact that the devices may get damaged or lost should not be a reason to ignore them.
- The ‘moral imperative’ to provide suitable education includes preparing students for the world we live in. Digital literacy and safety must be embraced in school.
- Teachers should be prepared to learn with the students and the devices. A ‘democratic and collaborative learning environment is key to successful implementation’.
These general considerations are supported by the practical nuances of new technology. There will always be problems associated with change but this should not distract from the main aim of ‘allowing learning to happen’.
- The ‘ecosystem’ must compliment users needs. Apple are currently the market leaders with iPodtouch, iPad and Macbook. With these devices and cloud integration, ease of use can overcome scepticism.
- The MacBook allows for creation of content, iPads are used in the classroom as ‘conversational technology’.
- Dropbox is the most effective way to share resources. Current spend, under six pounds per month for each department, represents tremendous savings on photocopying of resources. There is only one working photocopier in the ESSA academy building.
- Students value the new working environment. Sharing resources and receiving assessment materials via the device is a desirable methodology.
- iBooks Author is not just a way of creating textbooks. It allows for pedagogical language and course administration to be linked to enhance student learning.
- Current classroom dimensions should be challenged to provide the foremost learning conditions for students.
True, ESSA Academy was presented with a blank canvas to make the transition to their learning model. However, the process began before the new building and is underpinned by the philosophy ‘All Will Succeed’. There are many barriers to the implementation of technology but there are solutions.
Overcoming barriers must be worth it?
ESSA Academy GCSE Results
A* – C
2009 – 22%
2011 – 56%