Blogging is important for educators. It allows for reflection, stimulates opinion and provokes debate. This blog only began as a colleague suggested it would be a suitable way to record thoughts on an iPad project in school. I am very thankful he suggested it!
The rise of iPad use in education has led to clamour for research and evidence to support its implementation. Whilst I wholeheartedly agree that the more evidence, the more informed a decision, I struggle to see how sufficient data could be collected in the first years of trial.
It would be fantastic to have control groups compared to iPad classes and whole school 1:1 initiatives compared to a similar school without iPads. Unfortunately this isn’t feasible, in such a short timeframe, so schools wishing to make a decision about a 1:1 iPad model have conducted their own trials. This is where blogging comes in. Without this blog I would not have encountered such widespread opinion on the use of iPads in education.
Having collated information about iPad projects across the globe we began our trial to see if it suited our school and students. There were no standardised test scores to compare and no schools in the UK who had completed a GCSE/A level course using iPads. Instead we relied on student/staff/parent feedback and asked opinions of hundreds of educators across many countries. Blogging allowed opinion to be put forward and debate to be stimulated. Many schools got in touch because they were conducting similar trials. Without a blog (and twitter) these contacts would not have been made and decisions would not have been so well informed.
We still clamour for hard evidence but this will not be available until the end of next year, in the form of national standardised test results. Consequently, our decision to move towards a 1:1 iPad model has been made in consultation with a number of other schools. To date we are yet to find a school who have made the decision to remove iPads from their thinking having trialled them for a period of time. This does not mean that the iPad is the only device to use. Rather, it has satisfied the need in our school and this is supported by other educators who use the device. We still have in mind that the 1:1 model is likely to include different devices across the school but at the moment the iPad is the class leader.
When reading the superb educator blogs that are posted everyday I feel compelled to write a blog to maintain the balance required to enhance learning. This blog has been central to my own learning this academic year and I hope it will serve just as well from September. I would encourage anyone who is undecided to give blogging a go and give it time to develop. I would never have considered it an option a year ago and yet now I am indebted to all the people who commented and pointed me in the right direction as I posted my thoughts.
Here’s to another year of learning with fellow educators and a promise to continue the debate!