Something is happening. To be honest is has been happening for a little while. It is truly exciting.
But before we look at what’s happening let’s go back to the iPad’s release in 2010. As an educator I was excited at the prospect of my students using a device that put the learning first. Unfortunately the Apps that were promoted (and often used) were in contrast to the way children learn. The focus was on student engagement, but what the developers failed to realise was that:
Attention to the screen does not necessary equate to engagement in learning!
It placed little importance on students creating content and paid little or no attention to effectively using formative feedback strategies or student reflection in the learning process. To be honest:
Student learning became less visible!
But Apps and the developers (many of who are bringing teachers onto their teams) are changing. The philosophy has changed. The products they are producing have a new focus. These Apps are gaining a vote of confidence from teachers who are downloading them. So why are these Apps dominating school App lists and gaining respect from the educational community. Quite simply they promote elements that we know have a positive impact on learning.
Applications such as Book Creator and Explain Everything start with a blank canvas and lead students to use multimedia to demonstrate learning, produce digital products and make learning more visible.
Applications like Seesaw allow (and encourage) young learners to reflect on learning. It integrates the physical world with the digital whilst allowing students to focus on learning and reflection across all subject areas.
They are exciting times. New Apps are coming onto the market everyday. However, teachers and schools are now starting to ask questions before downloading.
‘How is this digital product going to enhance our students learning?”