Thursday, 18 December 2014

The Big 6


It's easy to give tablets to kids and get them excited, who wouldn't want one...
It's easy to get teachers to realise that tablets offer the possibility to transform their classroom...
It's hard to actually make it happen!

I guess that many people reading this (or the two of you!) will probably be educational enthusiasts who just "get it", are willing to experiment and love tech. However most teachers don't fall into this category, in the average school that will be about 90% of staff. This doesn't mean they are bad teachers, just that they haven't been able to make the connections between the possibilities of the future and the realities of the now.

My vision as a strategic leader is to see transformation across a whole school community, with all teachers making good use of technology to help students learn quicker, deeper and better. However, in my last four years leading mass iPad rollouts and technology implementations it has been a challenge to actually to get this mass change.

So my focus has increasingly been on understanding the stones teachers need to step on to cross the gap. One of these steps is to identify the Big 6. Six applications that we will insist all teachers use in as many lessons as possible, helping them to make the connections when using these apps. We wanted where possible to have apps that worked on iOS and on Chrome so students who may not have an iOS device are not disadvantaged.

SO....ours are...

1) Google Drive- All work can now be saved and shared, regardless of device or file size. As an iPad teacher for the last 4 years, getting work off devices has often been one of the biggest time drains.

2) Google Classroom- Assignments can now be set and shared with my class. I know that other applications such as Edmodo or Showbie, do this a bit better at the moment but Classroom is free and fully integrates with our current Google Apps solution.

3) Nearpod- While expensive to use properly, especially with our classes of 60, it allows teachers to create presentations, which they would do anyway, but with lots of added functionality and interactivity. It works brilliantly as a flipped learning resource for homework with the self paced option.

4) Popplet- A simple to use mind-mapping app. This might be a surprise choice for some, but it works as a great tool to create notes on lessons, develop ideas, revise topics and is visually attractive.

5) Explain Everything- A great way for students to present their learning in a powerful and meaningful way. A great way for teachers to create tutorials for Flipped Learning lessons, which then simply exports to Google Drive to be shared.

6) Book Creator-  Probably one of the easiest content creation apps to use and produces a fantastic eBook at the end. There are so many uses for teachers delivering topics or students doing homework, creating a personal learning diaries or ePortfolios.

These are ours...for now! They may change in the future because, as we all know, technology evolves and adapts.

Hopefully we haven't missed anything really obvious or made any huge errors but just like our students, we are all learners.

I would be really interested to hear what yours are? What are your thoughts on ours?





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