Transformation in Education: Can iPad help to transform learning?

This has been a very busy half term, as it always is at the end of the year, so I feel that I have neglected my blog. It’s time to update you on what I’ve been doing and how my thinking has been enhanced by the people I’ve been working with recently.
I am very lucky to have a headteacher who values my continual professional development and allows me to work at, and attend, ICT conferences on a regular basis. This half term I feel like I’ve been on tour. I’ve spoken at several events in various counties about iPad and it’s potential in Early Years and Primary education. Bedfordshire, Birmingham, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire have welcomed me to their events and the feedback I’ve had has been overwhelming.
At an ICT Subject Leaders conference I had the chance to listen to Craig Wilkie who speaks passionately about Transformation in Education. I really valued his honesty, and almost his vulnerability, in promoting this thinking in schools (Transformation sounds like a big deal, and a scary concept!) However, as his presentation went on, I realised that my school and other settings I have worked with are transforming the learning culture.
Wilkie provoked discussion on ICT and how it is playing a part in transforming learning but ICT is only ‘one spoke of the bicycle wheel’. He wanted me to unpick the steps to transforming my classroom and gave me 3 labels to place in order along a line: “Transformation” “Replacement” “Enhancement”.

 Transformation describes the kind of classroom and learning culture most of us are striving for.

Enhancement describes how a resource or change furthers the learning opportunity.
Replacement describes how a new resource or change is used instead of, or alongside, an existing resource. The outcome is the same. This is not a negative though, replacement resources can engage learners as the same objective is met in a way which meets their learning style.
The line represents the journey to transformation of learning.
So here’s what I did. I put the labels on the line in this order.


I based this decision on my journey in implicating iPad into my setting. First, I used iPad as a replacement tool. I downloaded Apps which were objective driven and replaced existing ways of teaching. So I used phonics Apps, counting Apps, iBooks… Aspect of these Apps gave children visual feedback and organised the activity for them, but in all honesty, it replaced something I could do at a table or with paper, laminated cards, etc.

Again, this is not a negative, as these Apps engaged some children who would not be motivated by flashcards. The point is, replacement does not enhance the learning and therefore a transformation in the learning culture of my classroom doesn’t happen.

So Enhancement comes next on my scale, as I started to use Apps on iPad which allowed us to ‘do more’ than we could do with physical resources.
For example, we have used Puppet Pals to create and record puppet shows with instant playback and easy saving for later viewimg. I am sure there is software on a PC which would do this, however, I believe iPad is age appropriate for my young learners as it has touch screen capabilities. Therefore children touch and get a response, more inclusive and easier to access than using a mouse and a separate screen…

Finally comes Transformation, the learning culture I am striving for. A classroom which meets the needs of the young learners in my class. How am I preparing my class of 4 and 5 year olds for the workplaces they will be employed in? How am I preparing them for jobs which don’t exist yet?
I feel I am starting to transform learning by making use of ICT by sharing our work, photographs and videos on iPad via our classblog. Families and other children can share our work and learning journey.

By working on the X Box and engaging in game play to lead learning, the class are engaging in meaningful play through new technologies and media. They are learning how to control new hardware which will shape the future of workplaces and devices.
Wilkie explained that technology transformation is only one spoke on a bicycle wheel. There are so many other aspects of school which need analysing like this: parent partnerships, outdoor learning, assessment, professional development… Once enhancement happens in all of these other areas, transformation of a school happens…
Final Thoughts
Now that I am making links with other schools and settings introducing iPad to their learning environment, I feel this model of transformation is a great way to structure their journey. I wish I had this to model to work with when I began using iPad nearly 2 years ago! What do you think? Does Replacement > Enhancement > Transformation happen in ICT in your school or setting? Or maybe you would structure it differently?

Finally, I would like to thank Craig Wilkie, Liz Kitts and Nottinghamshire County Council for involving me in this ICT Subject Leader Network. It was great to share my use of iPad with you as well.
I would also like to thank the team at European Electronique for involving me in their conferences and events this year. Thank you for your on-going support and encouragement.

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