What are we missing by having GAfE but restricted access to devices?
Having taken my school “Google” in September 2013 I feel my focus will need to start moving to our access to devices. Currently we have six computer rooms which are used 90% of the time for timetabled computing/ICT lessons. Teachers scrabble to book any free periods in these rooms but often you find that only one or two of your classes will coincide with an available slot so the use of GAfE in class is very limited. This reduces the potential for:
- Collaborative, in class, group work. Click here for an example
- Class feedback on a document.
- Peer review under the supervision of the teacher.
- Training students in the required workflow.
- Using blogs and sites for flipped instruction or providing students with differentiated tasks.
I believe there are great learning and teaching benefits to having easily accessible devices, especially as we have GAfE. It will be my job to pursued my colleagues, the parents and students of this. Outside of the learning and teaching other benefits can be reducing the amount of paper etc. but if this is the driver for devices you are probably doing it wrong.
I see two main factors to consider as I begin to plan the best solution for our school (other schools in other contexts may take different approaches).
- How do we want learning and teaching to develop?
- How do we fund the change?
I have read two case studies of schools that appear to have made the transition to 1:1 devices successfully.
IPACA in UK – read about it here
Hillsborough Middle School in US – read about it here
There is a significant common theme to both of these schools, and that is clear leadership. The school leadership has committed to embracing technology for learning and have driven this with appropriate support for teachers to make the change necessary to get the best out of the tools. Therefore, I have a ‘simple’ task ahead of me… Get the backing of our leadership to move the school towards technology underpinning the learning in our school.
Interestingly I have recently found a case study of a 1:1 device initiative that was not a success.
This is something I will be developing with my school leadership and our new academy ICT director over the coming months and as I get closer to a clear strategy I will let you know.