To continue my iPad Survey Odyssey, here are a few more results. I am not going to make graphs for every question, as the data is either too open-ended or, like one of the questions, totally useless. If you have an issue with this please contact the administrator of this blog. She will promptly read your complaint, go get a coffee and forget to respond.
WHAT DO YOU USE THE IPAD FOR?
I was surprised when I tallied the results of this question to see that half of our teachers use the iPad for recording peer and/or self evaluation as well as recording discussions for the teacher to evaluate. In Drama class they use it to record and then evaluate their performance. In history and french they record their discussions. In gym class to record their movements and evaluate whether they are doing the exercise right. One french teacher even gets her students to record themselves talking French and then gets them to send her the recording via email. Or even for recording the oral evaluations so she can come to them later.
Research can either mean for professional or personal reasons. From searching for resources for a certain lesson, to sitting on the couch researching the movies playing in the cinema, this was the second way most teachers used the iPad.
Specific lessons refers to teachers that mentioned using it for a specific project in their classes.
Professional Vs. Personal
I think the big difference all of these mobile devices is making in our life is that it is blurring the lines between work and play. We no longer have the desktop at work with work stuff and the desktop at home with home stuff,. Everything is portable, shareable, accessible from many devices. It is with us every moment of the day. Facebook is not only a social networking tool for our friends but a resource and a source of inspiration (sometimes, that is. I tend to have friends who post a lot of articles and interesting tidbits, though the occasional, ” I ate green beans for dinner! post shows up). I made a point of asking teachers how they use it personally- like the kids, many of them play games on it, use it for recipes, knitting patterns, watch TV on it. Use it for travel (though a lot of the people who mentioned they used it for travel were with school trips.)
Is this a bad thing? I would argue no. Because they are playing. And what happens when you play? Hopefully something clicks and possible uses in the classroom shows up. They are getting used to the way the device works- how to swipe between screens, how to pinch and zoom, etc. I would argue that this is the first psychological step they need to make before they bring it into their classroom.
WHICH APPS DO YOU USE MOST OFTEN?
This result makes sense when you pair it with the previous question, as the camera is the function teachers obviously find most useful. In fact, I just had a teacher ask me to borrow two iPads as she has a sub for the last period and wants the students to record their conversations while she is gone (yes, yes. She has a substitute.) The prevalence of youtube and showme also makes sense given that many of the teachers have begun using the whiteboard app to give and record their lessons.
Interestingly, Songza is super popular among the teachers for both personal and professional uses. I read a study a while ago that said listening to music can be beneficial to the workflow, especially during those sleepy periods ( mine is between 3 pm and 4 pm. I have a hard time staying awake…) Many teachers use Songza’s playlists to create a mood in the classes doing group projects or that are simply working on individual assignments.
WHAT KIND OF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT WOULD BE THE MOST USEFUL FOR YOU?
AHHH! Now wer are getting to the nitty gritty! The results were very useful in terms of where to go from here:
This was my favourite question because it really clarified what worked for people and what didn’t work. It was clear that the large PED Day workshops given by an expert weren’t very helpful for people. The reason for this is because there is such a wide range of knowledge of the device that the people who are comfortable playing around with it and navigating it are bored, while the people who don’t know how to turn it on are lost.
It is clear from the findings that a several-tiered approach would be the best. The teachers want concrete examples of how to use it in their classroom. They want subject specific examples and they want to be led through the different steps from how the kids can access the app to how they can share their work with the teacher. Essentially the whole workflow cycle.
Most of all, they want the time to play around with it. However, I have a big issue with this answer which I will address in my next post. (They tell me to always leave on a cliffhanger…)
Next post: Attitudes, Obstacles and Random Thoughts