Principal of Mahurangi Christian School, Helen Pearson talks about the shift from a teacher centred approach to a student centred approach supported by 1:1 iPads. Students describe why their levels of engagement have increased as a result.
I was delighted to learn about the e-learning contract that was available to us for professional development. That has been an incredibly great support to us, as we have made a huge leap in our learning as a staff, and the results in the class have been really significant. When I arrived at the school it was a very teacher centred approach to learning. Our children didn’t tend to be highly engaged with their learning, and that has completely changed. We now have the ability for children to learn using a lot of IT, and in a variety of different ways, and the children are very engaged in what they are doing, and the results have spoken for themselves. In Term 2 of this year we employed a teacher who was familiar with a lot of e-learning tools, and we very quickly moved on to having all our students learning using their own iPad in Years 5–8.
When I use my iPad in class like, it’s been much easier. Like, before we’d have to wait for the computer or we’d be fighting over an iPad saying “Oh I was using that”. Or like, we’d have to sift through books, to like find a word in the dictionary or something, and it’s just been much more easier to learn. And I think for myself, I have like learnt lots more and I’ve done more because it’s faster.
At school I use my iPad for learning and I usually do it to look up on countries that we learn about every week. I find it much more easier using the iPad.
Now I can like make movies, and before I had like no idea that you could even do that, and I just found out so much more about like technology and stuff, and it’s been really helpful in class.
It was harder to write blogs on the computer, but now that we have iPads it’s so much easier.
One of the benefits of having iPads in the school, and 1:1 iPads, has been the engagement in learning, and I believe that’s had a significant impact on our literacy learning, as the children have really enjoyed writing their stories and their descriptions onto the iPad. It’s freed them up to be concentrating on their thinking rather than the process of writing. The use of Story Bird, and Blogger, and various other apps has been great because the children have had a wider audience for their writing than they would if they were just writing in a book, and they can personalise their work in a way that makes it interesting for an audience. Literacy was an area of concern for us as a school. We knew that we needed to improve literacy, and engagement with writing with our children, and we are so excited at the moment to have seen a shift from significantly below national average for national standards to well above it in the space of a year, and we are convinced that the engagement of children with writing has made a very big difference. We have started to have MCSTV and the children have thoroughly enjoyed this.
We are learning to broaden our scope with literacy so that we are not only think about written language but visual language and oral language are an important part of that and certainly form the basis of thinking for written language. We are now able to cater for individual children for their own interests, their own learning styles, their own cultural backgrounds, their family backgrounds, their environment in a way that we’ve never been able to before.