Previously posted on Postach.io
I was kindly invited along to this Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Council organised event led by Apple Education and XMA. It was held at Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre on a beautiful sunny day. The kind of day that has you wishing they had some outside space for the breakouts. And ice cream.
The theme of the event was undoubtedly narrative. Each keynote or workshop presentation was a variation on the main theme and, as a whole, I feel it was a worthwhile event to have attended. The presenters were good – fantastic in places ( @rankinw ) – and although there was a lot of overlap it was good to see that many different educators recommended the same approaches to learning and teaching using iPads.
I was a bit sad that the workshops didn’t allow the participants to create something that echoed the narrative theme of the event. It was slightly too much show-and-tell and was at odds with what the presenters were trying to get across to the audience: that students learn better when they are involved, engaged and have the opportunity to create knowledge to share with others. However I busied myself getting to grips with Notability and left my paper notepad untouched until I got home and had a chance to think about all the sessions as a whole. I’ll share my summaries with you now. Please accept my apologies for the scribbled notes, I tried my best.
Bill Rankin commented on the effectiveness of narrative memory, combining theories of Edgar Dale, Lev Vygotsky and Mihaly Czikszentmihaly to find the sweet spot between context, content and curation. He argued that literacy must consider both traditional and emerging strands and that technology can help us transform the development of both in the learner. He also felt that design diversity is essential to fit with the wide range of students’ interests, experiences and potentials.
David Ryan ‘s presentation on the problems associated with IEPs was good, but covered well-worn ground. I did however enjoy hearing about his work with a small group of students to give ownership of the IEP to the pupil and (to a small extent) their parents. The goal was to give teachers a better understanding of each individual in their class. Personalised learning could then be more effectively designed once strengths and areas for development were known. These allow for the creation of suitable targets which can then be overcome through careful design of learning outcomes throughout their school career.
Jenni Robertson talked about her work to effectively utilise study leave for National 4 students (who don’t sit final exams as N4 is internally assessed) through essentially project-based learning tasks using iPads – was this the “hard fun” Bill Rankin hoped for in his keynote? – to create narrative responses to questions such as “why is it so hard to remember dreams?” or to celebrate independent learning through a whole-day equivalent of #geniushour.
Oscar Stringer wanted us to view the iPad as a “digital pencil case” where components combine to create content greater than the sum of its parts. Examples of app smashing included poetry projects, foreign language meet and greets, avatar-led book reviews, professional quality video-based learning logs and augmented reality displays. The importance of lesson structure and clear outcomes were stressed but the overall message was deep learning through an individual student’s myriad narrative responses.
Joe Moretti ‘s snapshot tour of how the iPad can be used as a means of augmenting learning and teaching and as a tool for formative assessment was useful for those in the room who were worried (or represented teachers who were worried) about having to recreate old resources anew. Don’t worry! Word and PPT will still work on the iPad, even if you can’t afford an Office 365 licence to unlock the apps. Joe was refreshingly honest about WiFi problems at 2pm killing learning opportunities and showed the audience how AirDrop can help facilitate transfer of data when the network can’t cope. His demo of a Word document being opened in Pages to create an ePub that could be highlighted in iBooks was good. I’d love to know how to get that side-loaded file out of iBooks, with all its user-created annotations, without having to connect it to a PC or Mac…
Steve Bunce talked about how ICT can be used to teach Computing concepts across all curricular areas: decomposition, pattern matching, algorithms and computational thinking for example. Narrative learning exercises such as songs as flowcharts, choose your own adventures, the Hokey Cokey keynote, Games-Based Learning and through mixing of physical and digital artefacts can be used instead of, or to build up to, programming games or apps on the iPad.