At one point during our visit to Linnvale PS in Clydebank we stopped and chatted to three children who were out in the corridor editing a movie they were making for a presentation about the planet Jupiter. The chat was very interesting but there was one pupil in this group, Laurie, who it turned out had her own iPad at home and who was a rather expert Minecraft player. We chatted with her about this and then asked her if she would be kind enough to chat again so that we could record it.You can hear that discussion below:
At a number of the schools we have visited in recent months one of the main areas of discussions and excitement with learners has been around the game Minecraft. Some schools have managed to enable collaborative working by hooking up their iPads via their wif-fi networks whilst others have been using it as a stand alone resource. Laurie from Linnvale PS was able to talk to us about a number of complexities of Minecraft including what a Mod is. She was also able to articulate what she does when she builds world and where she goes online to develop her skills as a Minecraft player.
In the audio file above you will hear us discussing with Mrs Thomas the nature of digital contexts that have cultural appeal and that resonate with learners – ones that they generally use outwith school. Much of the work that has been carried out with computer games and learning by Education Scotland is very much linked to this approach and thinking and is one that we think has great merit and potential in exploring further. It is an aspiration to explore the possibility of being able to offer a Minecraft type environment to Scottish learners via Glow but in the meantime and while we envisage such an opportunity we have a Minecraft related learning Experience on offer for learners this Autumn.
Contexts for learning such as Minecraft are becoming more accessible as a result of their ability to be installed on tablet devices. Opportunities to use tools as this are becoming greater as devices become more common in schools. If you are using Minecraft in your school on any platform we’d love to hear from you.
We met with a number of the learners from Linnvale PS during our visit to the school and we were keen to get their perspective on how learning with devices such as iPads and iPod Touches were helping them as learners. Our first discussion with one P.7 learner, Josh, proved to be quite thought provoking. He was working away on the computer creating an animation that he was looking to publish on his school’s Radiowaves site. As it turned out he had become really quite skilled in the use of animation tools and was using a variety of them, including I Can Animate, to create his animations. When we asked him what he thought he was learning by creating these animations his response was, “Nothing.” We attempted to tease this out with him but he was focused on creating the next series of frames in his animation..totally focused on his creation. Have a listen to our discussion with him:
This exchange gave us some food for thought about the nature of learners and learning, about the expectations now placed on learners to articulate their learning journey and what it means to be a Confident Individual and a Successful Learner. This learner was particularly skilled in creating his own animations. He created the characters, devised the plots, he knew how to use the stop motion animation software, how to edit it, how to add sounds and how and where to publish his finished piece of work. This was all done without the intervention of the teacher or the skilled adult in the classroom and yet he thought he was learning nothing. He clearly is learning, he clearly is skilled in this area, he is more than able to accommodate new skills and to share his expertise so why is it he thought he was learning nothing?
Is it the case that we need to keep helping learners articulate their own learning journey or is it maybe that he there is some implicit message about the nature of tasks such as animation that leads learners such as this to think that what they are doing is not something that is related to the learning that schools value or place the greater emphasis on – or is it something else?
Your comments or thoughts on this would be most welcome.
Linnvale PS in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire has been using sets of iPads and iPod Touches to support and enhance learning across the school. Their experience has been similar to the one at Dalreoch PS in that they have a limited number of devices and as a result these are shared by the learners. We spoke with Linsey Thomas (HT) about her school’s experience in using the devices and we asked her to discuss the methodology that she wanted to see employed when the devices were used in her school.
Mrs Thomas didn’t feel that her school was in any way disadvantaged by not having what may be seen as the gold standard of having enough devices to deliver 1:1 provision. On the contrary, Mrs Thomas saw the limited numbers of devices that she had access to as an advantage because she believes that devices such as the iPad are great tools to help facilitate collaboration. She describes seeing groups of 4 children sharing an iPad and there being a genuine sense of sharing and participation around a device that is so portable and flexible. Mrs Thomas expressed some concerns about what might happen to the collaborative nature of group work should all her pupils have their own device.
The issue around shared devices in school be it due to lack of resource or a preferred methodology as opposed to 1:1 provision is very much one that is open to debate. The perspective from Linnvale PS is one that contrasts with the setting and perspective from colleagues at Sciennes PS. What is your take on this? Is sharing devices or 1:1 provision a preferable option? What do we collectively know about the benefits of either? Can both work equally well? Comments and thoughts welcome.
lvale_impactlearningMrs Thomas discusses the impact on learning that the devices are having at Linnvale PS.
Following on from her thoughts on the advantages of sharing devices Mrs Thomas went on to discuss what she thought she was seeing in terms of impact on learning on the children at her school now that the devices were in use. She again emphasised the enhanced collaboration between learners in her classrooms and corridors but she also remarked on what she was seeing as real learner discussions about learning as a result of having shared access to devices such as iPads and iPod Touches. The freedom to respond to tasks in a manner of the learners choosing due to the range of apps that were accessible on the devices was also seen as something to help address the personalisation and choice agenda and all of these benefits, she believed, appeared to have a motivational impact on the learners at her school.
CALL (Communication, Access, Literacy and Learning) Scotland is a small unit within the Moray House School of Education, The University of Edinburgh. The Centre is co-located with the Scottish Sensory Centre. They were delighted to have celebrated their 25th Anniversary recently and a 25th birthday commemorative booklet is available. CALL is both a Service and a Research Unit. Service activity is limited by the amount of staff time available, but is open to anyone in Scotland concerned with communication difficulties, particularly in a learning context.
The team at CALL Scotland recently published a guidebook entitled iPads for Communication, Access, Literacy and Learning (iCALL). The Guide aims to support readers who are not necessarily technical specialists and who want to use the iPad with children or adults with additional support needs, special educational needs or disability.The book contains chapters on the following and can be accessed via this link:
Getting to grips with the iPad
Apps to support teaching & learning
iPad in Assessments and Exams
Managing & Implementing the iPad
Glossary of Terms
iPad Management using iTunes: some useful tips.
You can keep up to date with the work of CALL Scotland and their forthcoming events and developments in the use of augmentative and alternative communication by following them on Twitter
As discussed in the post ‘Purchasing Apps’, some modern tablet platforms manage the deployment of applications in a different manner to traditional Windows and OS X operating systems. Apps purchased from application stores on Android and iOS, for example, are specific to the account of the user downloading or purchasing them, rather than to the device. This raises some issues around purchase and installation of apps provided on the device at deployment as well as of those provided post-deployment. In some cases, schools choose to treat apps as consumable items, whereby apps are gifted to pupils who can then continue to use them when they leave school, others use a model where the school maintains ownership of the apps, which are retrieved and redeployed when pupils leave school. The former model requires little setup by the school as redemption codes are sent to pupils who redeem them against their own account. The latter model may look financially attractive but will require up-front work to configure the device, the resource cost of which may ultimately be more than the cost of the apps themselves.
There are circumstances where, with an additional Mobile Device Management (MDM) service, you may be able to deploy applications to tablet devices over the air. There are free and paid MDM solutions available offering varied functionality and XMA can advise of the best solution to suit your individual requirements.
In some cases, schools may wish to deploy a variety of device platforms. It is important to consider the impact that this will have on teaching and support staff.
If teaching staff are utilising certain apps for particular tasks you may not find the same app available across all platform application stores. Certainly you may find similar apps, but it may become difficult in lessons to account for what features are available in one app versus another. Those involved in configuring and managing devices would have to become familiar with the features of all device platforms and in some cases limit functionality of services offered to a ‘lowest common denominator’.
While some tablet devices maintain a traditional ‘icons and folders’ style interface for file management, some modern platforms such as iOS have simplified file management by storing files created by apps within a separate app data store, only accessible by the app that created them. For example, files created in the Keynote app are shown in Keynote, not in a system wide Finder or Windows Explorer style application. This can have some implications when it comes to classroom workflow, especially around submission of work from pupil to teacher, markup of that work and returning it to a pupil. Many apps (including Keynote used in this example) offer an ‘Open In…’ or ‘Share’ option allowing you to move the document to another app, email it, print it, etc.
With Glow’s migration to Office 365 it is expected that a shared storage space will be accessible across all platforms offered on the framework (Android, iOS and Windows) either through a native Skydrive app from Microsoft or an app developed for all platforms designed specifically for Glow storage. Watch this space!
If you are using online services or apps that store personal data, you should consider that the developer may utilise storage that is outwith the UK and the EU. The UK law that governs the storage of personal data is the Data Protection Act 1998 (http:// www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/29/contents). In relation to storage of personal data, the act notes:
Personal data shall not be transferred to a country or territory outside the European Economic Area unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of data subjects in relation to the processing of personal data.
In effect this means that personal pupil data should not be stored with services or apps that are utilising storage outside of the European Economic Area, unless the company providing the service or app agrees to observe the same level of protection for the data as provided within the EEA. There is an agreement between the US and the EU whereby American businesses can adopt the principles of the relevant EU Directive and these companies are listed on the US Government’s Department of Commerce Safe Harbor site or at TRUSTe’s directory. The latter is kept more up to-date than the Department of Commerce site. Apple, Google and Microsoft are all listed at TRUSTe as holding an EU Safe Harbour Seal.
If in any doubt you should contact your Local Education Authority’s Information Officer.
Devices offered on the framework offer standard compatibility with wi-fi networks. Compatibility may be dependent on the setup of the network and the security features that have been configured. It is therefore important to consult with the administrator of your wireless network (who could be in your LEA or a third-party service provider) to find out what security features have been employed.
In some cases, you may wish to provide access to data or services that are currently available to staff or pupils who login to Windows or OS X computers in your school. With devices running Windows 8, it is possible to login as a directory-based user in this manner, but Android and iOS devices are designed to be used by one individual and do not have a login screen. You can utilise third-party applications on Android and iOS to access home folders stored on school or LEA servers, copy the file to your mobile device, edit it and transfer it back.
With these modern operating systems the method for purchasing applications and licensing is quite different from the method you may be familiar with for traditional Windows or Mac computers. In the past you would probably have purchased software applications from a computer reseller or retail shop on some sort of removable media like a DVD, CD or a floppy disk. This would have an associated license agreement (and often a license key or serial number) that would allow you to install the application on a single computer or across multiple computers. Tablet devices offered on the national framework all come with an application store (or app store) built-in to the device’s operating system. This is the primary (and with Apple devices, the only) method for purchasing, downloading and installing applications. These application stores are as follows:
ASUS Nexus 7, Galaxy Note 10.1
iPad mini, iPad
Dell Latitude 10
All three stores offer free and paid applications and require you to sign up for an account to download either. These accounts can often be used to purchase and download other types of media such as music, movies and digital books and to access other services offered by the store’s vendor. These accounts are as follows:
Google Account (with Google Wallet for paid apps)
Each store will prompt the user to setup an account or log in to an existing account when you first try to download an application. When downloading free applications you will be required to enter contact details but payment details will not be required. More information on each vendor’s specific application store can be found on their websites as follows:
When creating an account and downloading applications from these three stores you are essentially entering into a legal agreement with the store vendor or application developer that outlines the use of the application. This agreement will cover the use of applications on multiple devices (similar to licenses that you would have purchased with traditional software as noted above).
Defined by app developer
App licensed for use on one device only
Defined by app developer
Having an understanding of how apps are licensed on the device platform you are using will help define your strategy for account creation. For example, if the applications you are purchasing from Google Play are licensed for use on an unlimited number of devices, it would make sense to use the same Google Account across multiple devices. Given that the App Store requires one app per device it would make sense to create an Apple ID for each user. This in turn raises issues around purchase method and application deployment.
For paid applications you must have a suitable payment method associated with your application store account. Supported payment methods differ from store to store but all support debit and credit cards. It is unlikely that an institution would want to allow learners access to an account that is associated with a debit or credit card.
Credit/Debit card (via Google Wallet) Gift/Pre-paid cards
Credit/Debit card Gift/Pre-paid cards
Credit/Debit card Gift/Pre-paid cards
As an alternative to the App Store, Apple offers a method of purchasing application redemption codes in bulk with their Volume Purchase Programme for Education. These redemption codes can be distributed to users and allow them to download paid apps without requiring a payment method associated with their Apple ID. The institution manages purchase through a central portal which requires a credit or debit card but these details are not exposed to end users. The programme also offers a 50 percent discount on many apps when purchasing 20 or more copies. Details of the programme are available on the Apple website.
Microsoft does not limit installation of applications to the Windows Store. As such it is still possible to purchase applications and licensing direct from computer resellers or developers. Consider how the application installation files will be delivered, as tablet devices do not have built-in CD or DVD drives. Preferably, application installation files should be provided electronically for download or installed to the device as part of an image.
Look out for a future blog post on application deployment and how this can be managed as you introduce more tablet devices to your institution.