This should be easy to write today, shouldn’t it? But I want it to read right… I want to contaminate you with enthusiasm…
Eight years I’ve been working with tablet technology. Eight years I’ve been waiting to get into a classroom where every child has been issued an iPad/Pod… Thank you to the staff of the school who I visited yesterday, to those of you who gave up your iPad for the day to make this possible for me and the 28 pupils I worked with.
A while back I submitted a proposal to my bosses that outlined and requested the implementation of a minimum of 15 iPads (one between two pupils) to add to the four I already have in my classroom. After careful consideration, my request was turned down; with the suggestion that I get some other departments on board before resubmitting for further consideration in the future. To “play the game”, I have been canvasing other departments, but the truth is that if I got them, I’d be loath to release them… I would use them every lesson…
Funding is an issue, but plenty of companies offer very competitive packages to encourage these proposals… yet evidence is also a key factor in many schools holding back on investing.
Build the evidence…
Opportunities to experience the new are sparse in this profession, yet our job is to offer fresh and supplementary encounters every lesson. When you get a chance for yourself, take it.
I don’t like taking money out of other Art departments. I think the money is there for resources to inspire kids and give that opportunity not exposed to before. For me to facilitate my day’s residency, my school requested that I should pay for the cover in my absence, so it was necessary for me to charge. And yet, I am a resource… a valuable resource… so it was nice that on my arrival I found the head teacher had changed the brief and requested that I worked with those who were underachieving or failing their GCSE, and had become willing to pay for my time out of his own budget. Thank you.
On our arrival, my brother introduced me to a few other people we bumped into along the corridor. “The Art room?” they asked as they tried to hide their expressions. “Good luck!”
28 GCSE pupils.
I love fishing. Why don’t I do it more – get out there, away from familiar complacency? Different establishments? Different faces? Casting my hook and slowly reeling them in. Watching their body language and expressions change as their interest awakens. What I wonder, would education be like if teacher’s swopped schools more often… used their specialisms to inform and give pupils tasters… Ha! Ha!.. Maybe that’s it??? Artist teacher?
As the students filed in, they helped themselves to an iPad. Instantly they started caressing the screen, intuitively knowing how to turn them on and Face Time one another. The more inquisitive started opening apps – behaving as I had expected them to.
None owned an iPad. Three had iPod touches. All had mobile phones. Only one pupil had ever downloaded an Art app across all platforms, confirming the research from my Masters that it tends to be a far older age range that use iPads.
They wanted to play with the familiar rather than work. My question and answer intro went down like a lead balloon. They weren’t engaging with me. One female became spokesperson for the group – I suspect out of sympathy for my plight.
Give up? Run?
Secret weapon. Engage.
“I would like you to open up Photo Booth please and take a picture of yourself”.
Photo Booth if you didn’t know, has a number of different distortion filters that will morph your face like those magic mirrors you find in Fun Houses at the fair. It’s a great starter. Save the image and you’ve got something to work with. Kids love to laugh at one another…
…They bit,… The hook was loaded. The room became animated. I had their attention. They wanted to know more. They became hungry for information and listened attentively as I set out the plan for the day.
Ten or so apps and six hours later, the majority of pupils had produced at least fifteen useable images each to the astonishment of their teachers, in a variety of mediums.
I am out of words!
To be continued…