Persuading Staff to adopt Tablets in School: Challenges and Solutions

This is the second blog post from Daniel Ibbitson,  where he tells us about his experience with preparing teachers for the use of tablets and mobile learning at Dixons City Academy.

Challenges

As an ICT teacher in an Academy with a history of technological innovations, to me, the concept of 1:1 tablet use, sounded like the next logical step. But, obviously, some of the members of staff were not as confident with mobile technology. Most of them have managed to produce outstanding results without the aid of technology, so if traditional teaching methods get outstanding results, why change anything?

Other concerns from staff members quickly became apparent with questions such as: ‘Are these new methods replacing what we are doing? ;, ‘Will we not get a 1 (in an observation) if we don’t use them?’.

Solutions

A clear vision has to be shared with all staff, any concerns and queries need to be put forward and support must be given. The tablets are simply a tool to help facilitate learning and teaching, not to replace it. The first decision we made was that staff were provided with a tablet, ensuring they received them several months prior to the pupils. During this period I ran a series of one to one and group support sessions. Like any lessons, these had to be adapted in accord with the ability of the users and their needs.

As far as implementing the tablets with staff, a hook was needed. Strategies that made staff’s life easier, engaged pupils, solved a problem and yet were easy to implement and use. The following are approaches that I presented to staff to easily implement Tablets into lessons.

Due to my background of programming, I set out and designed a method of posting feedback and grades to pupils using a web based ‘Dashboard’. Accessed from the tablets (or anywhere), pupils can enter notes, peer assessments and action plan all feedback via this one Dashboard. For staff, they can access pupil’s assessments and easily create complex comment banks.

QR codes are basic, yet an effective introduction. Making basic displays interactive and expanding learning, creates a classroom into an investigative learning environment.

Digital remoting the computer allows teachers to present on interactive whiteboards from anywhere in the classroom, never have their back turned or students having to stand up (to join in). These are just a few of the basic methods used to introduce the use of tablets.

From meetings with staff, many had great ideas of apps and different ways of using them, due to this we decided to, over the summer, set up an online community whereby staff could post new apps and comment ideas of how they have/are going to use them to enhance learning. We will be looking at using this to collaborate with other schools. The vision is for this to be the first point of call for staff when planning.

Daniel Ibbitson is an ICT Teacher and Technology Innovations Coordinator at Dixon’s City Academy. You can follow him on Twitter: @ibbi_d

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