Four teachers from Johnson Heights Secondary have taken an iPad trial and set out to change 50 students’ idea of secondary education.
As part of a teacher driven inquiry project, these teachers have combined classes and work together to deliver their Year 11 curriculum. The four teachers deliver Maths, English, Humanities and Leadership in a collaborative environment that sees classes combined and iPads used as a tool to enhance each of their curriculum areas. For some of us on tour, we know this is nothing new to Australian schools but these teachers have started at Year 11 while many Australian schools start earlier.
The iPads are not locked down and each school in the district has the same guest wireless access, allowing students to bring their own devices and have Internet only connection. Schools can choose what apps they want to install and in most cases teacher and student recommendations are approved. Like Australia, Canada does not have volume licensing so they have had some issues with installing apps across the class set of machines.
The 50 students that make up this unique project are called the “21st century team” and the course combines the four areas of study, technology integration and field trips. Since both teachers and students were learning the technology and its possibilities there are many things they have learnt along the way. These included working collaboratively in Dropbox and having each machine identified with a user.
Teachers had access to the schools performance space, for lecture and breakout purposes and when needed access to a PC computer room. The humanities teacher used mobile phone and iPad polling tools to collect student data in the classroom as a formative way to see how students were doing.
When meeting with the students, it was interesting to note their reluctance to be in the class in the early stages of the project but as the year has progressed they would not want to go back to a traditional classroom. The students did some blogging but not in depth but used iPads for content creation including videos of their learning.
The project website is jhalive.wordpress.com ALIVE stands for Action, Leadership, Innovation, Voice and Engagement