At Easter all our students were asked to supply an iPad as part of their school equipment. I have read blog posts from senior leaders who explain why Bring Your Own Device has not been successful because teachers have not embraced. I am worried that this will be the same situation at my school.
The students often do have their own IT equipment, the older students use laptops for coursework, research and typing up their projects. Younger year groups like to make videos with theirs. But there has never been the expectation that students would use ICT in lessons, and I haven't been.
I know of schools that use iPads in their lessons and many teachers that would love the opportunity that I will have in September. In areas of America they seem to embracing iPads in education with enthusiasm.
However, BYOD presents me more issues that using 1-2-1 devices that have an image controlled by the school. Can I insist that students download certain applications? I might be able to do that with free applications, but what about paid ones? What if their device is full, can I insist a student deletes an app so they can use the one I want them to?
I also wonder about other aspects of students having their own devices? Should I be incorporating e-safety more obviously into my teaching? Should I be worried that a year 7 student might make a video clip for me and upload it to YouTube?
Another concern is that the using the technology will take longer than doing an alternative with paper and pen, detracting from the learning of the concepts. We struggle for curriculum time as it is, and devoting more lesson time to creating digital content may mean lessons have less learning?
On the other hand, ICT presents an opportunity. Students can use video to supplement their understanding, they can collaborate on experiments more easily, they can take photographs allowing recording of work more easily. Do they need everything written in a book or file?
iPads in the classroom should make my life more easy; student using online, immediately marked, homework packages would be one example. I would like students to be able to find records of their learning in videos and photographs as well as in notes. A variety of ways they can access information can only be helpful.
I want to help my classes use ICT to become more organised. I already use my iCal applications to organise my calendar, it would be great to do the same for the students, even sharing calendar events.
But using iPads in lessons is going to be a major change, I will have to think about how I resource every lessons and work on creating more resources than presentations and worksheets. Editable forms, blogs, videos, online quizzes will all become part of my practice and I need time to be able to create these resources. I need the equipment myself to create these resources.
Then I ask myself, will it be worth it? Will my attempts to use ICT in lessons be scuppered by the student who is waiting for a new one because they have smashed their screen or can't take a photograph until they have deleted the 3000 they have on their device already, or the wireless network that decides to switch itself off during my lesson?
I suppose I will have to try it and see.