Apple Event @Lakeside

This morning was an early start. I had to be at Apple Lakeside for one of their IPad in education events. It was a very interesting and a rewarding couple of hours, and well worth the mad dash down the A13. There were presentations from the Apple Staff on using and managing IPads for those who were new to the device, a look at some lesser known apps by 9ine consultancy and some words of wisdom from Elm Park School. Alongside all of this was some very valuable time to network with colleague in a similar position, which I found immensely valuable.

Here are some brief points and thoughts about the event.

  • Course facilitators take note, this was a very well run morning with good pace, a warm welcome and a good mix of workshops differentiated for abilities and needs. Staff were very friendly and never once did I feel sold at. And lets face it good coffee and cake in the morning is also always welcome.
  • The presentation from 9ine Consultancy was  entertaining and my colleague and I were thrilled to see Nearpod in action. I had played with Nearpod a few weeks ago but to see it demoed properly really gave you a chance to see the potential of this app. In essence it allows you to share your presentation with your students and allows them to respond back to you via the means of quizzes, polls or drawing.
  • The process begins with the teacher creating a presentation, he/ she then shares a pin number with the pupils who can then access the presentation via that pin. The potential is huge here, because the lesson could be picked up by other learners outside of the physical room as well as your own class. It reminds me of a voting system but feels like so much more! I am going to give this app a try out next week when I have visitors to my class!
  • We also looked at Morfo Booth, which is a bit like  Mad Lips,  both tools to make pictures talk. Though I have to say Morfo looks visually far more exciting than Mad Lips or the old Crazy Talk for Windows. We were shown an example  of an animated Egyptian King sharing his thoughts on the period, but of course an app like this could be used in lots of other history and speaking and listening contexts. It would also aid children with communication difficulties or those who are perhaps nervous about speaking out.
    • During the rest of the time at the store I listened intently to colleagues from Elm Park Primary, they shared lots of examples of how they had used IOS devices across the curriculum. I was struck by how far they had come with ICT and how down to earth and grounded they were too. Lovely people!

    One thing that did strike me about the theme and direction of the morning was that the use of the term “ICT” which  seemed to have altered and diminished somewhat. The applications we saw and heard about point to a new paradigm of ICT across the curriculum without the faffing about. Film, Podcasts, Comic, Poster, Ebook, Music, Art work, Map Analysis, Educational Game… Turn on the device find the appropriate content or creative app and bingo job done. But it niggles me that this is all summed up as ICT. It is  closer to the terms digital artistry perhaps.

    I still want my children to experience the rigour of testing, executing , refining and trying it all over again. I love my Ipad and our Ipad and having spent time after school tonight updating our apps I am rejuvenated and excited about using them in class. But I do worry that while these devices are seductive, fast and shiny, they do push the “duller aspects” or perhaps the harder to teach and contextualize ICT aspects to the side. Maybe an app will come along and we can all stop worrying, or maybe we still need a Windows device and a proper keyboard for some stuff after all.

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