iPads for Learning

School Stories: The iPads for Learning Trial

Warringa Park School

Warringa Park iPads

Warringa Park, located at Hoppers Crossing, is a dual mode school which caters for all children with an intellectual disability. Almost 300 iPads were introduced into the school for their participation in the iPads for Learning Trial.

Dawn Hallett, as part of her role as iPad Coach, organised weekly tutorials for staff dedicated to the use of iPads. Teachers would also get together to share their tips and tricks, discuss favourite apps and boast about success stories.

"iPads have opened doors for many of our students. We have many students working below the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS) who are learning to reach out and make contact with an object on the iPad. Through engaging apps such as Pocket Pond, Bloom HD and SoundPrism some students are now experimenting with moving their hands around the screen as a result of the exciting effects that occur. We have many students who face challenges with counting accurately. It is too easy to count twice or miss one out. Through apps such as Whizzit 123 and Toddler Counting, they have to touch each individual object as they are counting. The numbers are read aloud to them and displayed visually. Only when they have counted all the objects, are they allowed to continue onto the next challenge. I have observed students noticing objects missed and beginning to count more systematically." Dawn Hallett, iPad Coach, Warringa Park School

Classroom Ideas: Proloquo2Go

Warringa Park School explored the Proloquo2Go app, a communicative app that can be completely personalised with pictures, voice recordings and choices of words.

"When starting with a particular student, we chose a limited number of basic words and phrases for him to use. These included ‘I want’, ‘iPad’, ‘textas’ and ‘help’. We have since built his repertoire into groups of words to use at different times of the day. Using Proloquo2Go the student has been able to approach his class teacher and say ‘I want help please’, ‘I have finished my work now’ and is beginning to use other words independently. We are now working towards making complete sentences using these known words." Dawn Hallett, iPad Coach, Warringa Park School

Manor Lakes P-12 / Specialist College

Manor Lakes iPads

The Manor Lakes P-12 / Specialist College (MLC) opened in 2009 and is located in Wyndham Vale, south west of Melbourne. The College was developed for the long term enrolment of 650 Prep - Year 9 students, 1100 Year 10 - 12 students and 144 special / special development school students. MLC received the highest number of iPads in the iPads for Learning trial. The iPads were rolled out to all 91 Year 5 students and to 10 Specialist Learning Centre students.

"I feel that the iPad as a learning tool is such as great device for younger students. The ability to simply tap on applications to open them, to use their fingers to navigate their way around and the ease of using such a digital device makes the iPad the perfect prep companion! This session proved that and more." Corrie Barclay, MLC teacher

Classroom Ideas: Prep Experiment

MLC conducted the Prep Experiment to investigate how the Prep children would respond to the iPads – were they able to navigate their way around the iPad and how would their fine motor skills adapt to the touch controls? This was a one hour session that involved Year 5 students teaming up with Prep students to do all things iPad. The Preps explored the apps they had available to them and were assisted by the Year 5 students when needed.

There were several apps that the Prep students enjoyed more than others. Tap Tap Revenge was popular as well as most of the music apps. MLC found that several of the more disengaged older students thrived on being given the responsibility to "show off" such a great device and its features to the younger students.

Royal Children's Hospital Education Institute

The Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) Education Institute provides innovative and individualised learning opportunities for children and young people at the RCH and, generates new knowledge around children and young people's learning, development and wellbeing. In July 2010, the RCH Education Institute participated in the iPads for Learning Trial. Twenty iPads were placed in the Children’s Neuroscience Centre to determine the benefits of cutting edge technology to student learning in this unique setting.

At the RCH, the use of iPads has enabled teachers to create a sense of group and peer-support with students who are spread out across various wards in the hospital and in some cases confined to bed. The use of iPads has assisted RCH to achieve its aim to be not just a health space but also a learning space for young people in its care. For young people returning to their classroom after an illness, this gives them a seamless transition in their learning.

Neuroscience and Rehabilitation

Two iPad sessions are run in the play centre each week for mobile kids who can leave their beds. Typically, student learning focuses on individualised learning programs and inquiry based pedagogy is used where possible. There is an emphasis on literacy and numeracy and on connecting students with their peers back at school.

As part of the trial, an iPad was given to Quinten, a Grade 5 student with a neurological disorder caused by inflammation in the spinal cord which results in long term scarring of the spinal cord. This affects the areas of the body supplied by the nerves beneath the spinal cord and results in both motor (paralysis) and sensory impairments. When Quinten was first introduced to the iPad, he initially found it difficult to manage, given the limited mobility he has with his right arm. However, over time and with much practice, he is now able to manage many of the apps that he uses. It is the use of the touch-sensitive interface that does not require high-level fine motor skills that gives Quinten access to content relevant to his learning.

Quinten has completed an enquiry driven project (that his class was completing at the time) on the ‘environment’. He used the iPad for research via the internet (Safari) and presented his information using Keynote. In addition to this, he loves making cartoons using Puppet Pals, drawing using Doodle Buddy and playing Scrabble.

Ringwood North Primary School

Ringwood North PS iPads

Ringwood North Primary School, located in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne, was part of the iPads for Learning Trial. The school introduced iPads to 136 Years 4 and 5 students in Semester Two, 2010.

Classroom Idea: The Epic Citadel Challenge

Teachers at Ringwood North Primary School created the Epic Citadel Challenge. This challenge involved educators and students collaborating to create a digital story based on the Epic Citadel environment - a dynamic fantasy setting. Once completed, students then shared the story and their reflections globally.

Here is the Epic Citadel Challenge students were set:

  • create a digital story utilising photos from the app Epic Citadel
  • the digital story may include text, or it may not. It may be a collage or a poem. It is entirely up to you, as long as it tells some sort of story
  • use any apps you like to create your story
  • your story must be no more than 3 minutes
  • all finished stories must include a short reflection by the student before being uploaded
  • please answer these questions: How did you create your story? What worked well? What didn't? What skills do you think you have learnt in completing this task?

"As the project developed, it became more about the connections being made through the use of technology. Students and teachers from opposite sides of the globe collaborating, sharing ideas, providing feedback for one another's work, and as teachers, having the opportunity to work with other enthusiastic educators." Teacher, Ringwood North Primary School.

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