‘How are you going to measure the success of the iPad trial?’
- Student work?
- Staff feedback?
- Student feedback?
- Focus groups/Questionnaires/Anecdotes?
A topic that promotes in-depth discussion.
There is no easy answer. Fifteen teachers will provide feedback and represent a cross section of subjects and experience. Thirty students will be keen to present their views but may be swayed by the technology or the ‘privilege’ of being part of the trial. A collection of data will be in-house and only comparable to a handful of similar schools.
The decision to move forward with a 1:1 programme is therefore based on ‘soft’ evidence and provokes debate. How can we roll-out to year groups and teachers based on one terms use? Some staff only teach the trial group once a week and with exams and bank holidays in abundance, are they a true reflection?
Any decision must also take into account whole school implications:
- A developing pedagogy
- Cost of wireless network and support
- Training of staff and acceptance of new technology
- Training of students and workflow
- Assessment modification
- Parental support
- Lease/purchase device
Concern is tempered by the amount of schools who have moved forward with a 1:1 iPad programme, particularly in Australia and USA. There is plenty of positive evidence to be found with ‘hard’ data to suggest that a roll-out is appropriate. We are also supported by the success of the pre-trial, BYOD sixth form class who responded very well to the new environment, Their unit test scores fuelled the KS3 summer term experiment and provide a contrasting school view.
There are a number of presentations to prepare for with SLT, governors, parents and staff all interested observers. They will expect data to support conclusion with the trial group compared to similar, non iPad, classes in the school. However, the majority of evidence will be from opinion and observation which we hope will be a true reflection of the positives and negatives of the scheme. Hence the reason for this post.
If you are contemplating using iPads in your classroom what evidence would you like to see? The grades by which we are all judged, GCSE and A level, will not provide data for at least twelve months. Why would a teacher try to use a device to enhance learning based on anecdotal feedback?
I am left in no doubt that the iPad is a ‘game-changer’ for education, if used appropriately, by a skilled teacher. I am also convinced that it has a place alongside existing technology to further our students education. A whole school programme has so many ramifications we want to make sure we make the right decision and that must not be based on the opinion of a minority.
All thoughts very welcome.