Trying out how you’re going to work with mobile technology in your organisation BEFORE you get a load of technology in is another key area to explore. I regularly receive contacts from people who’ve been given a class set of iPads, an Apple TV and then ask me “what do I do with them?”
Do your research first and look at what is available. I know I hark on about iPads but many people don’t agree with me.
Find out what is right for you, in your school in your context. Try some out. Chances are many resellers / organisations will be willing to loan you some devices if you’re likely to end up ordering a large amount of them for your school, in whatever means you think you might go for. For example, I know of one Apple reseller that was working with the e-Learning foundation to offer a number of iPads to schools to trial for a fixed term period.
Once you’ve decided on which platform you think suits you best, try them out in more detail. Test your hypotheses and the research you’ve read about from other schools. Try class packs. Try devices in groups. Try giving some to students for an extended period of time. Give some to staff to use in their classrooms for themselves. Give some to staff for extended periods of time. Always asking questions. Always evaluating. Share. Share. Share. And do this publicly so stakeholders can see what’s being learned. Try to make it so that everyone involved blogs or shares their findings in meetings discussing their experiences. Share it with students. Share it with other staff. Share it with parents. Find out what works for your students, for your community, for your school, in your context. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. There’s no point in going full steam ahead without everything being put in to place, every question answered and stakeholders being sure it is the right way forward. In order to ensure any scheme successfully, involving any number of devices, from smaller school sets for Primary or year groups, to larger roll outs – get your questions answered before you move forward.
As accurately stated in the recent NESTA report – ‘Decoding learning‘, they state:
…only by looking at technologies as tools to support innovative practice – rather than as paracetamol ready to cure the UKs educational ills – will UK schools get the most impact from their investment in ICT.