As someone who has to wear two hats all the time: those of English teacher and Director of Digital Learning, I’m constantly challenging myself to make sure that what I recommend to other members of staff actually rings true and never is that more the case than in trying to ensure that there is genuine rigour in the work I’m doing with iPads. Nothing is more important to me than ensuring that the use of the iPad creates a deep learning experience.
So here is a workflow that I think really works and hits the R of the SAMR model whilst also sticking with some of the tried and rested things we know work as teachers.
My workflow begins and ends with pieces of actual paper (despite my attempts to be a paperless teacher) because there is paper everywhere in a school and frankly, that is not going to change any time soon.
So here we go:
I always describe Edmodo as being a cross between a VLE and Facebook for schools, but the truth be told it is better and more than that.
In this example workflow however it is the foundation of the whole process. A class should be signed up and ready to go before the lesson begins.
We’ll return to Edmodo later…
2. Post It Plus
One of the most important things about embedding technology is knowing when not to use it. Post it Notes are amazing – they are used in classrooms across the world to great effect and now the app of the same name adds an enhancement.
Students should brainstorm a topic using real Post It notes and then use the app to digitise them. Students can then get up and photograph other students’ work, adding them too their own board.
A short extension task here might be to order/group these Post Its in certain ways (the way you do this could be differentiated).
Once this is done, students should upload their board to Edmodo so that groupings can be commented on by others – indeed, one task could be to ask other students to comment on the post trying to figure out how you have grouped the Post Its.
Open course materials that are held in Edmodo to Pages and begin reading/assessing the content. The example I have in my head is teaching a new poem to a class, so let’s imagine that this is what we are dealing with.
Notes may be made using ‘comment’ and ‘highlight’ to show the initial stages of understanding.
4 &/or 5 iMovie/Explain Everything
The next task can be differentiated. I would ask students to create a video that demonstrates their understanding of the poem. They could do this in to ways (the differentiation): they might make a ‘video poem’ whereby they put the words of the poem to images and music thus showing me how they are interpreting the text. They could use iMovie very effectively for this.
Or, they could use a tool like Explain Everything to create a video analysis of the poem. This resource is in itself hugely valuable to the student that makes it, but could be something of great value to the rest of the class too.
Upload the finished products to Edmodo. Ask students to peer review each other’s work by using the comment function. This sense of AUDIENCE is hugely important and one of the easiest ways we can redefine the way we do a task. It raises the stakes of the task and it can really give a voice to those students that may not automatically speak up in class.
Upload the best (perhaps from each task?) to YouTube and make these available to the class. This resource has value, but to take us back where we started…
7. QR Reader
Give out a paper copy of the poem/resource or send round a QR Code that links to the best videos and ask students to embed the code next to their copy of the poem. When this paper resource is being used to revise from or is being annotated afresh, students can scan the QR code and watch content that they themselves have already endorsed and ‘quality controlled’.
So we have begun and ended with pieces of paper but used technology to add significant redefinition to a task that frankly can be quite dry and passive in the way the learning happens.
Every student has benefitted from the task as everyone has had to create content and had been peer reviewed.
Showbie is really for an alternative workflow where peer review is not at the heart of what you’re trying to achieve.
Edmodo is amazing for giving an archive of the learning and progress that has happened and viewing the way students have interacted with your and their content.
Showbie is a more closed system, but it gives you a very clear picture of how a student is progressing. In some circumstances it may be preferable not to make the work created ‘public’ to the class; this is very much a teacher-led decision.
Similarly, it may be that the final version of the digital resource or indeed the paper annotations after watching the digital content gets uploaded to Showbie for a final assessment which does not get shared with the class.
I believe that this workflow is genuinely rigorous in what it asking student to do and I feel that it uses technology a way that benefits students and offers some kind of transformational learning experience. At no point in this workflow is the use of technology frivolous or pointless and that is what needs to be at the heart of the decisions we are making when sharing our ideas about what does and doesn’t work with technology.
We would very much like to hear about other workflows you’ve got that work and that you believe offer the opportunity for Redefinition.
Tweet us a picture like the one at the top to keep the discussion going, showing the apps you use and the way in which you piece things together.
You could use #ipadworkflow when tweeting at us.