Was asked to support a parents’ meeting last night at Whitecliffe (yes, that would be Northern Grid ICT school of the Year – Whitecliffe) Primary. The Y6 children have had iPods for a year now and despite some really off putting problems with the devices authenticating onto their wireless (now sorted) they have made continued excellent use of them in most of their lessons. The school has not gone down the parental contribution route for acquiring them so they have always stayed in school. We know from the other schools using iPods that using the devices outside of the school is THE biggest factor in supporting learners. Whitecliffe have always known this but have taken a very careful, very planned approach to getting to this stage which I think is a sensible way to operate. They now feel that the children have ownership of the devices, know how to care for them and the teachers have had lots of opportunities to think through what the children could do to extend their learning outside of the school day.
The meeting was short but included a few examples of how the children could support their learning effectively. The first was from a lesson in school: the children were expected to write a news report, to begin the work they looked at a range of newspapers and were asked to identify features that made the reports effective. They used their ipods to photograph each feature (in Mental Note) and then record below each photo what the literary device was. After then working as a class to refine these ideas the children effectively had a checklist complete with photographic examples of how to write an effective report.
The second example was equally as simple. When the children have “learned” a new skill or way of working (such as a method of grid multiplication in maths) they will be expected to video themselves doing a narrated example. So on the device they have a video of themselves explaining to themselves how to “do it” for whenever they need it; for homework (especially as parents who try to help may have used different methods when they were younger), for the next lesson when they have forgotten or even to email to friends who are struggling….fact is, it is there for as long as they want it, their own personal video helpguide library.