Teachers from Hillcrest Normal School explain how students used iPads to document and reflect on their learning in the context of a science inquiry into the properties of milk.
Catherine Blewden: We have been working with children on using the iPads as a way of getting them to reflect on their own development and encouraging them to take their own videos, photos looking at their learning in different contexts throughout the class. We’ve only had them for one year and we were trying to find ways of making it more child directed rather than the teacher controlling the learning. We used the technology as an inquiry-based approach for the unit so we were communicating with experts. We accessed websites such as Rosie's World. We invited parents with expertise to come in who looked at scientific investigations and what made a fair test and we recorded those people talking with us and so over the period of time we had a whole collection of cumulative experiences which culminated in making an iMovie of our journey learning about milk.
Student: We were learning about chemical and physical changes.
Student: We took videos of the experiments when we were moving around the classrooms. We talked about what we learned in the groups. Chemical change it can’t change back and with a physical change it can change back.
Michelle Macintyre: It enables individual students to share their learning and reflect precisely on what they’ve done. They can play it back and say, “Ooh I learnt that milk is a liquid, if I make a physical change it becomes a solid and they can go and they can share that with a parent and then the parent can ask them a question.
Catherine Blewden: It also meant that children had worked with different teachers in the year 1 team and they could all come together and watch what each other did. So they were learning off each other and we also did a record of learning assessment which happened a long time after the learning took place so we were able to re-visit some of the concepts discussed and learnt.
Michelle Macintyre: We’ve really noticed that the learning has been retained for a lot longer. It’s been a way that they can revisit their learning more often, often times things go up on your classroom walls and as you move onto the next thing that you’re looking at the displays come down whereas here they’ve got a recorded piece of work for a very very long time.
Catherine Blewden: For children with English as a second language I think the power of the visual image has a major impact on their learning also revisiting concepts without it just being talk you’ve got that scaffolding with the images and a record of their responses. It helps them to gain a deeper insight.
Michelle Macintyre: We’ve been using the iPad to take video of children in the learning situation and sometimes there are things that children do that they don’t realise and it’s a really powerful tool to quietly show them a little movie of how they’re behaving, how they’re listening, whether they are actually concentrating on the learning and it gives them a chance away from others to look and say, “Ohh do I really do that?” and make some changes so manage themselves through the process.
Catherine Blewden: At the end of the term we did, well actually the following term, we did a reflection of our learning and the amount of things they could come up with in terms of their learning was greater and more in-depth and more valid than at previous times and they didn’t see ICT as being a separate part of the learning it was just integrated and they view it as a way of deepening their own knowledge, they don’t see it as just using computers; it’s helping them to break down barriers and transcend across, past the classroom walls or past the teacher.