Thursday, 6 March 2014

Giving Pupils Ownership of their Work Using Mobile Devices

Bellfield Primary School

Over the past year, Mr Andrews Online have worked extensively with Bellfield Primary School, sharing methods on how the planned use of mobile technology can have a sustained impact on standards across the curriculum. James, a Year 5 teacher at the school illustrates how through the effective use of technology in his classroom he was able to give his pupils ownership of their learning and the opportunity to learn independently, subsequently raising standards in his class.

Having had the same class for the last two years, I have been able to develop the children's ICT skills across a range of iPad apps. Along with working with myself, both David and Chris have also worked with my class on several occasions which has given them a good understanding of a range of apps. As a result I felt it was time to allow the children to begin to choose how they wanted to present their learning, instead of instructing them on a particular app I wanted them to use.
The children's topic this term is 'Wonders of the World' which has involved them studying different aspects of Ancient Greece. The learning challenge from this particular week was 'What religion did the Ancient Greeks follow?'. Consequently, I decided to deliver a History lesson based on the Ancient Greek gods. When planning the lesson I felt that this would be a good opportunity to use iPads to enhance the children's learning. I could have just given the children a source of information and let them write down their findings, however I felt this would 'turn off' several children in the class.
The task given to the children was simply to describe an Ancient Greek god. Having recently signed up for Quadblogging, the children were told that they had to describe a god of their choice to their real life audience. They discussed a range of apps that they could use to present their learning and then the children were then shown the following example to ensure they knew what was expected by the end of the lesson:
After using this as a hook to get the children engaged, they were given some initial time to research their chosen god. The children were provided with a hard copy of information about a range of gods which also included a QR code which was linked to a teacher selected (child appropriate) website.
How were iPads used as a tool to enhance learning during the research stage?
The children were told that the information given to them in the booklet had not come from a particularly reliable source. Having recently worked on different types of sources in previous History lessons, the children knew they would have to verify the information before using it in their presentation. They scanned the QR code and used the chosen website, along with some of their own websites, to ensure the information was accurate and also add additional facts about their chosen god.
How did the children respond to being given the freedom to choose their own apps?
After reminding the children on a range of different apps they could use, the children then began to transform their research into an appealing presentation that would describe their chosen god to their audience.

Editing in iMovie
Many of the children used the model shown to them as a starting point for their own presentation and as a result 'Tellagami' was the app first used by the majority of children. Having previous experience of this app, the children were quickly able to produce an introduction to their presentation. The benefit of this app was clear to see as the children who would usually finding writing difficult or disengaging were able to either use the voice recording aspect or type what they wanted to say without having to worry about their handwriting or spelling. The children saved their initial Tellagami video clip to the camera roll and then exported it to iMovie. Once in iMovie they were able to edit the video clip, insert images, and also add sound effects and background music. Many children repeated this process throughout the rest of their presentation, however some children also decided to use other apps.
A range of children chose to use the app 'VideoScribe' as a way to introduce and end their presentation. Using their previous knowledge of the app, the children were able to reduce the time taken for the images and font to be drawn and then export them into iMovie to accompany their Tellagami clips.
Another app used by some children was 'Phoster'. The children made posters containing images and text that were again exported to iMoive and placed into the required position within their final presentation.
One of the most pleasing aspects evident throughout the session was the amount of independent learning taking place. As the children were choosing the apps they wanted to use, I was able to facilitate learning and support children who were facing some minor technical issues. As earlier discussed, the biggest impact of using the iPads was seen in the children who would usually find reading and writing difficult. These children produced a presentation of similar quality to the 'more able' writers and were highly engaged throughout the entire lesson.
Examples of work produced:

After posting their presentations on their individual blog pages the children then received comments on their work from similar aged pupils from around the world. This interaction with a real audience gave the children's work a real purpose and they were able to respond to comments made during a blogging session.   

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