This seminar focused on the use of mobile technology in the classroom.
In many of my seminars at university iPads have been brought up and we have discussed the countless benefits they can have on pupils, especially those with SEN. iPads are exceptionally supportive for SEN pupils. Apps are available to download which specifically support pupils with SEN, especially in the Foundation Stage, and settings can be changed also to increase accessibility for these pupils. However, the range of support for pupils with SEN in KS2 is limited; I am unsure of why this may be (difficult to develop?), and I believe that more Apps should be developed for these older pupils. Although I have never been on placement in a school where iPads have been used, research does suggest that they motivate and engage students, and also enhance pupils’ learning in ways that were previously not easy to do so (Clark and Luckin, 2013). This theory is evident with the use of LearnPads which I was fortunate enough to use during my Year 3 placement. These are mobile technologies which are specifically designed for use in the classroom. Pupils in my class became more engaged in a lesson when they were using the LearnPads for multiple purposes, e.g. using them during guided reading sessions to read books from, conducting research, and using Apps such as SimpleMind (mind mapping app).
Additionally, Allen et al., (2012) highlight one of the main benefits of using mobile technologies is their use outside of the classroom. This is definitely something which I agree on as I used the LearnPads outside of the classroom on many occasions, e.g. to take images of ‘signs of Spring’ which linked to the pupils’ literacy topic about Spring poems. At the end of May 2015 I will be helping out on a school trip to the National History Museum with my old class. I would like to ask the class teacher if we can take a few LearnPads out on the trip with us so children can use them to take images and/or video of their trip, and even use them to conduct more research about things they have seen. The children would then be able to write blog posts about their trip to the museum and upload photos to the school’s learning environment for the rest of the school to see.
The LearnPads in my placement school were only introduced in February 2015 and it was interesting to see how difficult it was to get all staff on board to use these in their classrooms. Lai (2012) states that some teachers may have an ‘old-fashioned mind-set’ or they may not receive enough training to be able to use tablets effectively. However, the ICT coordinator in my school gave a very informative and beneficial inset about the use of LearnPads in school and also gave one-to-one training with teachers who asked for it; the use of LearnPads were only used in three out of sixteen classrooms throughout my time on placement which to me, is shocking! I was lucky to get a job at my placement school starting in September 2015 so I am really looking forward to using the LearnPads in my own classroom. I will definitely incorporate them into my lessons and hopefully be able to persuade other teachers to use them with their new classes in September also!
Some examples of how LearnPads were used in my classroom: