iPads make time for learning: ICT across the curriculum

iPads make time for learning: ICT across the curriculum

As we move from teaching ICT as a discreet subject, and develop ICT across the curriculum, we begin to depend upon technology to support the curriculum.

Teaching and learning ICT across the curriulumHistorically, ICT has always been problematic. It’s never really quite delivered for the average user. ICT has been sold as a way of saving time, or making things easier but this hasn’t really come through to fruition. For sure, ICT can save time, and can make things easier however in order for it to do this, there needs to be a huge investment of time, by the teacher to get to grips with the latest piece of hardware or software. Some do, some will devote a lot of time to making something work, but many don’t. Many fall at the first hurdle. Often through no fault of their own, simply because the IT infrastructure was not in place, or enough CPD was provided to keep staff moving until they could do it for themselves. Whilst intentions have been good, how much time do teachers and learners spend navigating their way through a complex networked folder structure to save and retrieve their work? How many times has a teacher not been able to add in piece of software to their teachers toolkit, because the ICT technician can’t install it on this visit, and it will have to wait for the next fortnightly tech support visit? (Heaven forbid a teacher might be able to install software onto the network!)

As I have witnessed the development of iPads, I am seeing a sort of democratisation of ICT. Things are easy with an iPad. Time isn’t wasted in the classroom, as children load the resources they need for a presentation, be it a music file, or a photograph, or text from notes they had been making directly from the iPad. No searching, or complex folders to find that elusive resource. The thing about the iPad, is the work is all there, on the device. Simple.

As for teachers loading apps, onto the iPad. Anyone can do that! No experience necessary!

My very favourite part though is watching children leading on the ICT. Teachers can’t be an expert in every domain. Those who give the pupils the freedom to use the technology don’t waste time grappling with computers, but maximise their time teaching their subject or topic.

If you want to make the more of your time in the classroom learning and less worrying about the server, contact me!



  • David Gilmour (@dgilmour)

    the work is all there, on the device. Simple

    You’re in danger of over-simplifying things, and painting a misleading picture. Having everything on the device is great as long as nothing goes wrong, but it’s in the nature of technology – and people – that things do. Choosing to put all our eggs in the one basket of the individual device is a choice we may decide to make. Few would knowingly accept that, though; nowadays there’s an expectation that we won’t lose everything if the device fails or is lost. This is a lesson it has taken many people may years to learn – please don’t ignore it!

    • Alexander Findlay

      For sure, there is some simplification here, in order to keep the blog post short. I would not advocate keeping all work in one place, and my preference is when pupils complete their work, they will post it online, or submit the device to the teacher who would take the completed work off using the iPad as one would a USB stick. the completed work would then be saved to the school network. My focus for this blogpost about saving time is centred around working documents, and the use of the device in the classroom.
      A typical example: I was working using Comic Life, with Y4 on laptops. Getting the photos the pupils had taken from the server onto their individual laptops was painful. I repeated the same lesson with iPads, and the lesson was easier, and pupils enagaged in learning, not moving files around!
      With regards to backing up of work, if you set your system up correctly, the iPads will backup and sync whenever you connect them to the charging unit.

  • Rebecca (@bekblayton)

    Hi there, I would agree, to a certain extent, that the iPad can definitely help create space for ICT in many curricula areas, but the iPad is not always this straightforward. Many schools are not rolling out 1:1 devices, so sharing files, documents and work examples can be difficult. Network systems such as webDav, or even cloud sharing like Dropbox can sometimes be tricky.

    On the other hand, iPads open up a new world of always on, accessible apps that children and teachers can use but, especially where schools have bought a set of 6 or a set for teachers, I think it’s really important we’re as realistic as possible.

    • Alexander Findlay

      Rolling out your iPads correctly is so important, whether it is a 1 to 1 deployment or 1 to many, and any deployment should take sharing work into account. The schools that I work with have a range of different iPad approaches. Without a doubt, everytime I use the devices, it is simpler than using the school network. Webdav and Dropbox don’t work with everything which does make things a little more complicated. A wordpress blog site has yet to fail me, and I love the fact that pupils can continue the work they may have started on the iPad on other devices, once the have submitted their work through the WordPress iPad app.

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