Sunday, 16 February 2014

What would it look like if every child in your class had an iPad? Flipped Classroom

What would it look like if every child in your class had an iPad?

A Question I asked 31 Year 3 children last week on safer internet day.

I've been blogging recently about the work of Aaron Sams and John Bergman's pioneering work into the flipped classroom model - Read it here.  So what would this look like? It got me thinking about the prospect of enabling children to have access to a tablet whenever they feel the need to - sitting next to them on the classroom table.  

The dreaded laptop trolley.
At the moment in schools you may find a range of computing technology, each with its own benefits. The computer suite seems to have been taken away from our primary schools to be replaced with a trolley full of laptops or iPads.  

This model still leads to classrooms having to book sessions for the laptops or iPads, something that again 'adds' to a lesson, but technology should slot seamlessly into learning, not something you plan for.

Imagine a situation were curiosity drives children to seek out answers to their own questions, quickly and instantly; something our children are very used to nowadays.  

My daughter asked me "Why do pigs oink? (she actually grunted, but I don't know how to spell the noise) I didn't know; who does?  Her response - "Google it Daddy."  She was three at the time.  Our children are digital natives to this digital world of Google searching and finding answers instantly via smart phones and tablets.

In some schools we are still expecting children to listen and remember facts and information and then regurgitate them in a quiz, test or another Victorian way of assessing.  We seem to be preparing our children for a life of pub quizzes!  

How many times have you been watching a film and thought 'How do I know that actor?'  You immediately pick your iPhone up and in seconds find iMDB and the answer to your question.  Why can't we do that in our classrooms?  Let the children find out the answers and then do something with them.

Every child in my class is a 'consumer.'  A consumer of facts and information that are now easily available at the swipe and type of a few fingers. But what are we doing with those facts?  What do we do when we learn all of Henry VIII wives and how they were divorced, beheaded or survived?  Seriously, have you ever done anything with that information?

We need to make children Publishers, Producers and Sharers of Research, rather than consumers of the wealth of knowledge out there.

How do we make children Publishers rather than Consumers?

So how can we do it?  Technology has enabled our children to produce things of real quality, very quickly and share instantly with the world for feedback.  Hold on, haven't we seen this model before?  

Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation - Blooms Taxonomy.  

This model is how we have created some of the most stunning and beautiful things in our world. This model shows how we should be educating our children in our schools across the world.

Children need to experience this model everyday of their school lives.

We need to enable our children to gather knowledge, understand it, apply the knowledge, analysis what went wrong and right, synthesis what they've learned, evaluate and then keep working this cycle until they are happy with the product.

We need to give children the opportunity to publish their work into a digital world they are already natives to.  The use of social media in education is one of the most undervalued pieces of technology available to our schools.  Why not apply Blooms Taxonomy to Facebook and Twitter?

Knowledge & Research -> Blogs, online encyclopaedias, YouTube
Comprehension -> Use Evernote to track of their understanding
Application -> Build, create, publish, share with experts across the globe
Analysis -> Get feedback from peers and experts online via social media.
Synthesise -> Combine expert views and your own and publish again via social media
Evaluation -> Share your findings with the world and pose the question, can anybody help?

In my class we have been using iPads to video our progress in our cricket PE lessons.  We have created online video guides on bowling and batting.  We have published these on our school website, but the children haven't asked anybody (other than me, their teacher) if what they have produced is of a good standard.  We stopped at the application of the cricket skills.

If we had emailed the links to the videos to Lords Cricket Ground - the home of English cricket, we may have received a Tweet or Facebook message from a club professional with advice and guidance to improve further.  We could have taken advantage of this professional guidance and used it to better our performance

If I had an iPad and How I'd stay safe...
I posed this question and here is what I got back from my class of 7 year olds. I had a class full of these wonderful ideas:
- Blogging - Sharing my work
- Music -  Creation and publish to iTunes
- Sharing via Email and SkyDrive
- Photography and Art, online galleries
- Movies - Creating and publishing
- Using Facebook and Twitter
- Creating eBooks for the iBooks store
- Reading eBooks via a digital library.

How may brilliant ways could you use a £250 iPad mini?

The children thought it would be a brilliant idea if they could take the iPads home with them after school and use them to learn at home. I wonder if when they left school the parents could buy the iPads to take with them to high school; after all, think of all the photographs, presentations, videos, research on that little device.  

If we gave every child a blog, a twitter account, a Facebook page to publish their work and receive 'professional or expert peer assessment,' I firmly believe we will be giving children life lessons following the Blooms model.

I really do think the children are on to something special here.  An iPad sitting next to them becomes a learning, publishing and sharing tool rather than a bolt on device booked by the class teacher for a lesson they'd planned.  

I'll post a few more pictures of their ideas when I get back to school.

Follow Me on Twitter @chriswaterworth

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