Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Google Chromebooks, iPads and Social CPD

During this term I have been overseeing the implementation of a fundamental shift in technology resourcing within our school. After 18 months of research and planning (including much Twitter bashing, visiting local schools and trudging around stalls at BETT) we have removed our ICT suite, expanded our library and have started to use a range of new equipment and software.

Our Year 5 & Year 6 classes now have access to Google Chromebooks, a bank of iPads and each pupil has access to their own Google Apps for Education account. Key Stage 1 the EYFS team have been also been allocated iPads.

We have a long road to travel. We need to develop a group of digital leaders, both from the staff and the pupils, as well as initiate a structured CPD programme for the devices and their content. The question about timetabling resources effectively has also been raised and this needs to be thought out thoroughly, the devices represent a high investment, not only in money, but in planning and thinking time; for many members of staff. However, rigidly structuring access to the devices in the short term will not allow for the more adventurous and spontaneous use that has been seen within the first week in some classes.

Short term and initial impact 

One of our teachers has been extremely positive about the use of the Chromebooks with the pupils' Google Apps for Education accounts. Initially they were a little unsure; potentially apprehensive about the change of system. After the first session with the class they came into my room, one word was uttered: "WOW!" This has been a recurring theme throughout the week, teachers have commented on the excitement the roll out of new devices and accounts has generated amongst the pupils. Potentially with timely impact before those all important SATs and after several months of reduced access to laptops and interactive resources.

Next steps


We have also given each teacher an iPad for use to support learning and teaching within each classroom. This is to be supported through the use Air-server on each classroom PC to allow mirroring of device content to the projector. Annoyingly there have been gremlins at work and, for reasons unknown to us, Air-server has started to become very unstable this week. Our technicians have been in contact with the Air-server team and are working on a solution to the problem, until this is fixed one of the most exciting features of the use of iPads within the classroom has been inhibited.

There are so many potential positive impacts that the effective use of iPads can bring to learning and teaching within our school, but there are only so many hours to model and work with staff on how to use them effectively.

As part of our self directed CPD model we are encouraging teachers to take responsibility for developing research based and reflective practice, signposting them towards reflective resources and encouraging them to share those that they find. Within this model we are encouraging staff, within the guidelines set out in our e-safety policy, to use social media to support CPD and reflective practice.

During a staff meeting next week I will be leading a section of the staff meeting on this subject, entitled Social CPD, my initial slides for the meeting are below, I'm hoping these will become redundant and that Air-server will be up and running to allow mirroring once again.


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