This afternoon, I, alongside the #iTrinityteam and a few children from my class, held our school’s staff meeting. When considering how best to introduce the 21 new iPads we have purchased at school to members of teaching and support staff, I thought the best thing to do would be to run a practical, ‘exploration’ session, allowing some hands on learning. It also made sense to ‘bring in the experts’ on how to use the devices to support learners: the learners themselves.
Thanks to Mark Anderson (@ictevangelist) from Clevedon School and his superb digital leaders (who came to Trinity to run a training session with the #iTrinityteam), the children had a strong understanding of the apps we wanted to introduce to the staff and a clear idea of how to go about it. The task: to create a short video about an aspect of life at Trinity School using PuppetPals and iMovie.
To begin with, the staff had 15 minutes to ‘play’ with the iPads, explore the range of apps that are installed, and ask the children any questions they had. The children spread around the room, answering questions, suggesting apps and offering advice to support the staff. The atmosphere was incredible. The conversations and questions flowed and it was fantastic to see such a cooperative working environment where children and adults were engaged in collaborative learning. Some of the children even extended the learning experience of the staff to include looking at Morfo Booth and Garageband.
Following this, the children gave a short presentation about the work of the #iTrinityteam and detailed how they raised the £6000 needed to purchase the devices through a range of charity and enterprising events. A few members of my class then shared their ideas about how the device could be used to support learning and reflected on how we have utilised the iPad across the curriculum in PE, Science, Literay, Maths and whilst on field trips. This gave the staff a range of practical ideas for how to use the device in their own classrooms. I chipped in at this point to add that the mobility of the iPads should be taken advantage of. These are mobile devices and should be utilised in a range of environments both inside and out.
We moved on to the main task, which was to create a short film using PuppetPals and iMovie all about life at Trinity. The children created success criteria for the staff to follow and made sure that all were aware of what they were expecting from the films. They then paired up with a couple of members of staff and went off around the school to support the adults in creating their movies.
The atmosphere was incredible. My classroom was buzzing as the learners became the teachers, confidently (and very patiently!) explaining how to use the apps, offering tips and tricks for utilising the range of tools each app provided and demonstrating the accessibility and ease of use of the devices. All the children were able to resist the natural urge to ‘take over’ and use the device themselves, instead showing excellent communication skills when breaking down the task into manageable steps.
Overall it was a fantastic afternoon. I was fairly nervous before the meeting as this was the first time I had led a staff meeting with both teaching and support staff, however, inviting the children was the best thing I could have done. The children’s hard work and effective presentation skills got the meeting off to a flying start and their enthusiasm and understanding truly helped create a productive and constructive learning environment for staff. Hopefully, this meeting exposed staff to the potential of iPads and helped them progress some of their own digital literacy skills, as well as giving them the confidence to utilise the device in their own learning environments.