Things have changed since I was at school in the eighties and nineties. Gone are the old BBC Computers and children now have an array of technology to choose from. Such as:
Tablets for schools
Alongside this classroom revolution, comes a plethora of ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’. What if I choose the wrong school tablets? What if teachers can’t integrate them into lessons? What if they get broken or stolen? Which tablet and why?
First, make a plan of action – Before you decide which tablets are right, it’s worth first considering ‘why’ you’re buying them. By this, we mean what are the educational goals you’re hoping to gain by using tablets? And how to you plan to measure these goals?
Many schools rush into buying tablets, such as iPads, without thinking how they work with the school’s present vision, values and ethos. This lack of pre-planning can end in wasted money and some very expensive exercise books gathering dust. This is an interesting article to read – http://www.news-record.com/news/schools/article_cb28995a-d279-11e3-bb8c-0017a43b2370.html
Not all tablets are created equal – Once you have your plan, it’s a case of deciding which tablets might fit it. But all tablets are not the same. There are many different brands on offer (with different operating systems: Apple, Android and Windows); each could be right for different reasons.So:
Test-drive a tablet – Arrange a tablet demonstration or trial so that you can test-drive the before you buy. Some companies will offer this service such as www.schooltechhub.co.uk
The A – Z of educational content – A helping hand to cross the growing world of apps and content.
It can be daunting when looking at the infinite range of content available for your school tablets. Plus, with technology changing so fast, it’s hard to keep on top of the best digital resources for your school. So what are your options?
Free teaching apps – Naturally, to reduce costs to the school, you may want to use as many free applications as possible – a wise choice, there are some excellent apps out there covering KS1 – KS4. But which ones are good quality and which should you avoid? And which are compatible with Android, Apple or Windows?
Single subject apps – These are applications developed around a specific subject, such as French or Maths. There are plenty of good ones to choose from – the problem is, what if one app is better than another and you download the wrong one? And what do you do if you can’t find a good Latin app, for example?
DIY apps – It is possible to create your own apps and digital resources for your school to use via tablets and smartphones. By creating your own content, you can make sure it fits with your school’s teaching pedagogy as well as different learners.
Educational websites – The internet has a wealth of content for your pupils to benefit from. So much so, that it can be overwhelming for them, and for you. What’s more, some sites may be more appropriate than others.
Teaching with tablets – Just because tablets are used at home by teachers, parents and pupils, doesn’t mean this translates into successful use in the classroom. Indeed, effective teaching with tablets takes preparation, practice and on-going support and guidance. Without it, teachers, governor and parents can become jaded about using technology.
• Identify areas in the curriculum that are a natural fit for interactivity
• Help you set day-to-day progress benchmarks
• Coach pupils to make the most of tablets in the classroom
• Train teachers to become confident tablet facilitators
• Show you how to monitor tablets when they’re in use
• Create boundaries for tablet use in lessons
• Help you mark pupil’s work electronically
• Enable you to make new projects and activities
• Show you how to use tablets collaboratively on whiteboards and projectors
• Help your students store and organise their digital work