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Layering Apps on an iPad

Written by David on March 5th, 2013.      6 comments

I have just written an article for Interface Magazine about how to best use an iPad in the classroom.  I wrote the article in response to my own observations about how iPads are being used and also in response to a blog post  written by Tom Whitby, who did the Emporer's New Clothes task of stating that a worksheet is still a worksheet, even when it is on an iPad.  This echoes my own observations with teachers who use an iPad in their classroom.  They tend to use this high tech device to deliver low level learning.  The trouble is to the casual observer, it looks great to see engaged students working enthusiastically on their shiny new iPads in a classroom, but what learning is happening? I have also been part of a conversation with Jacqui Murray who was sharing her thoughts on the best apps for a classroom.  I shared my thoughts on formative assessment and publishing, points which she agreed on.

When I work with teachers who are using iPads in their classroom, I get them to audit their apps and to ask so what? questions of the apps.  I need for them to know the learning and formative assessment potential of each of their apps.  If the apps is unjustified busy work, it is scrapped.  I then introduce this concept I have developed called layering, where the best features of one app are used to create content that can be enhanced in another app.  I get the teachers to base the learning intention outputs around the workflow of several apps.

You can see what I mean in the video below.  If you are struggling to get the best out of your iPad or are having trouble creating a sustainable blended elearning environment in your school, please contact me for a free initial consultation meeting. 



David from http://dakinane.com says ...

Thanks for your feedback. I agree that when an iPad is used well, then great learning can happen. My observations are based on experience working in schools where teachers do not get the training they need. They iPad itself is not the answer, pedagogical change and evaluative reflection are key. The iPad is just a tool after all.

In the special schools I have worked in I can see how assistive technologies really help students to communicate and engage and the iPad really does have a role there.

I too have an iPad and use it much in the same way you mention, they key here is that we both use it as a complimentary device, but not one that would replace my computers or laptops. Last year I did consider doing all of my field work in schools armed with only my iPad, but the vagaries of wifi an 3g coverage has meant that in 2013 the iPad is still my complimentary device and I walk into schools now armed with a laptop and an iPad! I would be interested to hear what you think about the arguments in this article: http://donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.co.nz/2013/02/too-cool-for-school-7-reasons-why.html Finally I agree with your last statement that where change is needed is in how teachers approach all technologies in their classroom and the formative assessment strategies they employ to tailor their programmes to meet individual needs and not teach to the whole cohort.
Cheryl says ...
I have read with interest your comments and the blogpost to which you were referring. The post was concerned with mainstream education and higher level university education and stating hoe the ipad used in a traditional way lacked depth for intelligent people.
I use an ipad as a complement to my PC and as a great device to use at meetings, conferences etc where I can access social media and the cloud quickly and easily.
I am also investigating the use of iPads as assistive technology in my field of work which is special education ie those students in schools who are not able to communicate as easily as mainstream students and so are not achieving. Saying that the ipad should not be used with children over 9 years old is one of those highly generalised statements made by teachers still engrossed in whole class teaching and ignoring the needs of students
with special needs. We have students at secondary school who are still not able to achieve at Level 2 of the curriculum. If the ipad is a key to their progress, we will use it even if it is new and shiny and makes you think in non traditional ways.
David from dakinane.com says ...

With your current situation, you have a golden opportunity to build a strategy from the ground up. It is vital that you align your goals to the eLPF and create a strategic elearning (blended elearning) vision for your school. From there you will have a solid pedagogical foundation to build from. If you need help with this process you know who to call!
David from dakinane.com says ...

Thanks for your thoughts. Yes I agree that once the euphoria over the iPad has died down, teachers have little clue how to integrate them effectively into their existing pedagogy. The key is thinking about them at the planning stage and not as an after thought or bolt on activity.
Jacqui from http://askatechteacher.wordpress.com says ...
Excellent. I've noticed--now that the excitement of tech's newest toy has dulled a bit--that teachers want more out of iPads than engagement. Thanks for sharing your ideas.
Katrina Cable says ...
Hi David
As I am new to a school about to launch into the realm of iPads, I'm always on the lookout for ideas and tips. I am apprehensive about where the teachers will take them with no faciliation as yet. I agree that they look fabulous and it can be so easy to slip into a "busy work" mode where little to no collaboration is seen. The layering of apps to create published and embeddable learning is a must and teachers need to be directed to ensure that this is happening. There must be a purpose. Thank you for your video which demonstrates this process.



David has been a specialist in the field of elearning for over 12 years. He has presented on elearning at conferences in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. His consultancy work includes education and business clients. READ MORE


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