iTouch Project

The original idea behind my project was to help improve learning. Most students are doing well in my class, but at the same time I feel that a significant number are disengaged or not achieving to their potential. This seems to be a common problem nation/ world wide.

The use of mobile devices as an educational tool is highly motivating for students. Using the latest technology in a device that they are familiar with creates authentic learning while staying motivated. The iPod touch caters for multiple learning styles, and individualised instruction. Whether its enabling students to review information, providing them with practice of challenging concepts, or giving them access to audio books and interactive lessons for improving language acquisition, iPods enhances teaching and learning.

I know some schools have what they call a 'digital classroom' or an eLearning class'. I think it's really important not to 'label' classrooms. The use of digital devices will become more prominent over time, but this only merges the digital and physical worlds. Using a digital devices does not make a classroom digital, It simply enables the student and teacher to complete tasks digitally, which helps us do everything quicker and easier. I have been the teacher of a class of 6 students broadcasting the lesson to 3-4 other classes all over New Zealand. (Totaling 25 students) This was the closest thing to digital learning that I have come across, but this was still not a digital classroom.

I have applied for funding from the following Foundations/ Trusts

Core funding:
Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust: Success!!
Fletcher Trust: Declined!
Lion Foundation: Declined!
Pub Charities: Declined!

Local Sponsorship: Triodent Have asked a local dental manafacturing company if they would like to sponsor the school and this project. They have given us $500. Katikati Lions have also provided us with $500. This has been a great help, without these donations it would be very difficult to purchase the 33 iPod touch units.

Reason and purpose for project:

The hardest part of teaching is engaging and motivating the students. If we can do this, then the students will want to learn. Enthusiasm and motivation of students to complete tasks, will lead to improved student learning. The iPod touch’s video capability enabled video to be used both as a tool to create, and as a medium to deliver curriculum. The use of Web Apps to deliver personalise learning has potential for further changes to teaching strategies. The speed and convenience of data collection is immediate and enable its use as an efficient learning tool.
Kids all over the globe, have been quick to integrate electronic devices into their lifestyle. In a school setting phones are seen as a disruptive distraction to learning. Schools have been forced to create policies to deal with issues created by the use of mobile phone by their students. But… as our education system has moved towards student directed learning, teachers need to look at using new technologies to increase student motivation and to enhance learning.

The New Zealand curriculum mandates that “schools should explore not only how I.C.T. can supplement traditional ways of teaching, but also how it can open up new and different ways of learning” (Ministry of Education, 2007, p. 36).

These personal digital devices have become a much cheaper alternative to personal computers. Incorporating innovative devices in education enables the user to interact with the digital world and physical world at the same time. Post blogs, reflect on goals setting and personal learning, as well as uploading and downloading work to and from ePortfolios. Having digital learning in your back pocket gives every student the opportunity to find answers to their own questions at anytime. This enables the student to direct his or her own learning, encouraging the students to become independent learners, managing themselves on their learning journey.

We need to think of ways to enhance learning using the devices that are available. In doing so we will be well prepared when new technology presents itself. Otherwise as these new gadgets become more advanced, teachers and students will need to run and catch-up, rather than merely stepping forward into new learning.

Future learning
"We are preparing students for jobs that don't exist, using technology's that haven't been invented, solving problems that haven't been considered yet"
Richard Riley, Secretary of Education, United States of America, 1999

Over 10 years ago, be he couldn't be more right...

I believe that in the very near future, book and pen work will no longer play a major part in our lives. Its important that we prepare students for this future. The use of a piece of chalk and board have become extinct in education, and so too will the pen and paper. This is why I use web2.0 teaching tools in my classroom (a wiki is one such tool). The digital age is most certainly upon us, and the use of digital tools will only increase over time. Because of this, I am trying to integrate iTouch devices.

I believe integrating the physical and digital world is extremely important. The skills of copying, editing, and saving content online, or linking and adding an image to a wiki page are important ones. Eventually when these fundimental skills are gained students will be creating, editing and publishing content by themselves. They will not just be consumers of information they will be creators! This is a key step in learning.
By giving my students the opportunity to use web2.0 tools now, I believe I am helping to preparing them for ‘their’ future.

Don't agree... check this out... still don't agree??
Let me know your thoughts,

Hamish McLean
Director of eLearning
Katikati Primary School
P: (07)549 0105 | F: (07) 549 1605

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