Sunday, 23 September 2012

iPad Training for a 21st Century Classroom

Summer Term 2012

The 'iPad Journey' continues at Spring Cottage Primary School with the introduction of 16 iPads in Key Stage 1, 16 iPads in Key Stage 2, both with a syncing/charging trolley and 63 iPod touches for children in Year 6.

See 'All Things Apple: An investment for 21st Century Learners' for more details of equipment bought by the school:

Back in January 2012 I began an Evidence Trail collecting evidence investigating 'How can handheld technology can be used to enhance children's learning across the curriculum?'

Evidence Trail - Improving the use of ICT in all areas of the curriculum

From the outcome of this enquiry it was decided by myself and the head teacher that we would like to see both iPads and iPods in use in the school. Teachers were each given an iPad and had opportunity to become familiar with iPads over the Summer Term 2012, ready for the introduction of iPads to the children at the start of the school year.  I led a staff INSET at the start on the summer term; Staff Training - The Start of the 'iPad Journey' which you can read here:

Autumn Term 2012

With the iPod touches, iPads for both Key Stages set up and Apple TV installed in each classroom it was time for another staff training session, this time focusing on meeting the needs of a 21st century classroom.

Staff Training Autumn 2012

I began the staff training session by looking at the skills needed to be 21st century learners and the skills they would need to be successful in the future. These were decided from reading various blog posts and with the help of Simon Haughton (aka @simonhaughton).

21st Century learners need to be:
  • creative
  • collaborators
  • communicators
  • critical thinkers
  • problem solvers
  • independent researchers
  • responsible citizens
  • able to drive their own learning
To share this idea with staff I wanted to make maximum use of the iPad. I used Videoscribe HD app to create a stop-motion animation, which you can view here:


Next, I felt is was important to share with staff how the iPads and iPods fit into the context of the 21st century classroom;

  • technical - minimal time wasted booting up, with fast access to apps and the internet
  • mobile - learning can take place anywhere
  • learners - appeals to a variety of different learners and learning styles
  • any age, anyone - the iPad is easy to use and can improve the progress of learning for everyone
  • apps - lots of different apps can be used to support learning
  • audience - work can easily be shared to a global audience increasing the incentive to produce a high standard of work
  • creativity - combine different apps to show children's learning and understanding
  • new way of teaching & learning - using apps such as; iMovie, Evernote, Videoscribe, Explain Everything, Creative Book Builder, Strip Designer etc

Again, I demonstrated these points using Videoscribe HD app, the stop-motion animation was called 'Why iPads in Education?'


After watching the two short video I talked about the following: 
  • Staff iPads; looking after your iPad. Emails, wireless settings, keeping apps up to date, management of apps, deleting & adding apps.
  • How the syncing/charging trolley works and where they would be stored.
  • The iPads would be timetabled weekly by signing up on a first come first served basis.
Showed a short video of my 2 year-old daughter using my iPad at home. She amazes us at home with what she's worked out to do. (My Photo Stream is alway full of random pictures). I showed this video just to emphasise the point about how technology can and will play a pivotal role in 21st learning and the fact that there will be children starting school who are tech savvy.


  • Briefly demonstrated, using Apple TV, how the Key Stage 1 & Key Stage 2 iPads had been set up, iBooks, folders, apps etc

I received some great advice from Mark Anderson (aka @ICTEvangelist). He suggested setting up the iPads with the same email address, so that teachers could send files, photos, web links etc to the set of iPads being used in their class. It is also a useful way amongst others (Evernote, Vimeo, Blogs, FlickR etc) of taking work off the iPad by emailing to the teacher. So, this is what I did. Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2 iPads and the iPods in Year 6 have been set up with the same email accounts. For some reason though, which no one knows the answer to, all GMail accounts will not work through the mail app on the Apple devices with our current network set up. Hopefully a solution can be found soon. Mark also suggested using Dropbox for children to save work, which is something I'm consider in the future as the devices start to clog up with content.
  • I briefly shared some of the ideas on this blog that we had used with Year 6 in the summer term. I also mentioned the valuable contributions to the blog from Mr Williams, Mr Yeomans and Miss Leigh.
  • 4 Tech Savvy children from Year 6 have become 'Digital Leaders'. Amongst their many ICT roles they will share ideas on using iPads on a 'Digital Leaders Blog' and offer advice and support on iPads/iPods around the school.

We're we are at?

Having read an excellent blog Leading ICT by Anthony Evans (aka @skinnyboyevans), it got me thinking about my role as ICT coordinator in the school and the school's 'iPad journey.' Had we (myself and Mr Williams) in Year 6 become the 'Lone Rangers'? (we had another name, which I cannot post here!). The plan when staff were given their iPads over summer was to trial the iPads over this term with their class and we did. We just kept stumbling into ideas using the iPads, which just worked, with no real opportunity to share them with staff other than to blog our ideas, here on this blog, hoping teachers took an interest. However, pockets of enthusiasm were popping up throughout the school during this time too, and some teachers were beginning to see real potential in these devices in both enhancing teaching and learning. But was my enthusiasm and blog enough to get everyone on board?

Therefore, during the staff training session I assessed the confidence of teachers and their thoughts on using this technology with an anonymous survey. You can see the results below:

From the survey results, staff confidence using iPads for teaching was mixed. But, what interested me most though was the fact that everyone could see that the iPad could enhance children's learning. So, had we become the 'Lone Rangers'? Absolutely not! 

Post staff training both the iPad timetables in each Key Stage have been regularly signed up with class users. I helped Year 3 set up a QR code reader app on the iPads. The codes  in the classroom linked to pictures for discussion and work. Teachers had imported their assessment into numbers, Year 5 had used the iPad for Art, iMovie, Strip Designer and Videoscribe HD. These were just a few examples that I happened to find out about, they're were clearly many other I knew nothing about. Add to this the head teacher's vision and support of use of iPads, then I think we are giving the children at our school the support and skills they need to be successful as learners in the 21st century.

What are the priorities?

To finish the session I very briefly showed a sample of the ways I was planning on using the device to aid my teaching (dare I say my quest to go paper free!) and the learners;

  • How I was using the Numbers to do my assessments
  • How I was using Evernote and iThought HD to organise my planning.
  • How Evernote could be used to keep portfolios of children's work.
  • Using some of the creativity apps such as Creative Book Builder, iMovie, Strip Designer etc.
  • How QR codes be used in the classroom.
  • Aurasma, an Augmented Reality app.
  • Using assessment apps, such as Nearpod, Socrative etc
Again I handed out an anonymous survey, looking at CPD needs for teachers using the iPads. The results are below:

Where next for teachers?

I plan to continue working closely with Mr Yeomans (KS1 Phase Leader) Mr Williams with whom I work with in Year 6 and Mr Rhodes (head teacher) to discuss the use of iPads & iPods and use the survey results to focus on areas of staff training that teachers feel they need most. An Evidence Trail will focus our thoughts on maximising the impact of this technology throughout the school in addition to the a focus priority for this school year.


  1. Many thanks from New York City. I am organizing a training for elementary educators and the iPad. Love your ideas!

    1. Hi Rob, many thanks for the comment. It's great to hear that the blog is having an influence over in the US. I'd love to hear how your training goes and your thoughts on the type of IOS training that is available over in the US. if you get the chance to drop me an email, I'd really appreciate it.

      Have a great 2013,

      David Andrews

    2. Hi David! Will do. We've done a fairly organized pilot, but we want the iPads to be used in the classrooms more and have limited time to train, so the goal is to get the teachers excited and comfortable quickly. Rob