DEC Scan Journal : February 2012
[Editor's note: Read Lisa Nash's article, Exploring iPads in teaching and learning, in this issue pp. 6--13.] Lisa spoke about the ways that today's students consume, create and make sense of content via a range of mobile digital technologies. She discussed feedback from a classroom trial of iPads and explained the ways in which the innovative features of the iPad and various apps can enhance and engage students in learning. After attending this session, I was armed with evidence based practice and the benefits of the iPad's educa- tional uses and success. Benefits were found to include the instant and personalised nature of interaction where students have control via the accommodation of preferred learning styles and appropriate reading levels. This was found to be particularly successful for special needs students and low ability readers. Issues associated with having numerous iPads were also identified. For example, each iPad needs to have the applica- tion purchased and downloaded. Knowing this enabled anticipation of issues to be considered for our school's situation. iPads in action Kellyville High School's Peer Tutoring Program was recently recognised with a Western Sydney Region Excellence in Education Award for Excellence in School Achievement. This program operates every morning during roll call. It teams Year 10 volunteer tutors with Year 7 students with a low reading age. Year 7 tutees are pre and post tested, and some results show remarkable improvements during the year (Simpson, 2010). As with all programs, it is a work in progress, constantly striving to improve and to introduce variety and enjoyment into the learning. The iPad enables peer tutors to experiment and improve tutoring strategies by identifying ways of incorporating literacy based inter- activity and involvement. Peer tutors have successfully used worksheets, word games and puzzles, Web 2.0 tools and now iPad apps. Some student favourites There are so many free apps available, as well as apps for purchase. Many are well suited to our peer tutoring sessions. Initially, children's digital books were purchased. Students were encouraged to read and interact with the content in a different way to the paper editions. Our students have enjoyed: • The tomorrow book • The fantastic flying books of Mr. Morris Lessmore • Thecatinthehat • Wonky donkey • How to train your dragon • Where's Wally • Toy story 2. Toy story 2 can be read by students, who can record their own reading of the story and interact with the story's activities. Another favourite, Finn's paper hat, allows students to select voice over, and choose accents from Australia, New Zealand, the United States or British English. Some animated characters repeat what is said to them, for example, as Dodo, Talking Tom 2, Talking T-Rex and Talking Gina. Nonfiction titles are also popular, such as the interac- tive Al Gore -- Our choice: a plan to solve the climate crisis, the 100 facts series, including Pirates and World wonders and Virtual history series. Geographical quizzes can be performed with Geogame, Flags, Capitals, and more. Games, of course, are a hit. Some of the word games that have been downloaded, again, some free some purchased, include Popwords, ScrambleWord, Bookworm and Boggle, which requires shaking the iPad to roll the letters, which students love doing. The iPad instantly engages students, allowing them to have control and work with a responsive and intuitive interface. It has been an unforseen positive to see the students' collaboration with the iPad's use. In Peer Tutoring it is rotated around the pairs of Year 10 and Year 7, or in small groups with everyone having a turn. The paired involvement with the activities helps keep students on task. In this way student direction is encouraged rather than a teacher supervising to ensure students are on task rather than venturing onto other sites when the internet is readily accessed through the school's DER wireless network. iPads+ Attachments were purchased so that the iPad can be connected to the data projector and television, and used for keynote presentations, note taking, reading, Volume 31, February 2012 31 Figure 1 ASLA XX11 Conference The iPad instantly engages students, allowing them to have control and work with a responsive and intuitive interface.