The IB Diploma has at its heart the ideas of independence and collaboration through maximising use of time and the most efficient study methods. Which at first may seem at odds but when put into context link together with how we all work and learn throughout life. These two contrasts however do raise many issues for students that find either a challenge :-
  • the responsibility of independence of organisation
  • the abilities to naturally work and collaborate as a team to learn in the most efficient and natural way possible
  • a unifying place to take notes across all subject areas
  • a unifying tool to communicate naturally and organise their schedule that connects across groups and individuals
To these ends ACS Egham is looking to trial the use of Apple iPADs as for the first time we see a tool that has the portability, ease of use and applications to enable these sort of functions. As such the iPAD will be used as a tool similar to the way that I as IB Coordinator have used it for the last three months - to organise, notetake, communicate, read, bookmark share information in a simple and effective way. The implementation and use of the iPAD can and will be an unifying element within the Grade 11 Diploma studies and can facilitate for teachers a way to publish, disseminate and organise notes with all students.

Ethos and Pedagogical Background

As part of the ACS Egham strategic plan - the school will “seek to establish itself as an IB Centre of Teaching and Learning Excellence, whose teachers are internationally renowned for their expertise. This expertise would be shared with other IB schools as our teachers would be functioning as trainers, but most importantly would be used to create this learning community.”
The vision of the use of the iPAD seeks to continue this idea of a learning community, while leading at the forefront of using technology to better support the everyday activities of IB Diploma students whether that is to check their CAS on ManageBAC, collaborate with their supervisor on their Extended Essay on a GDOC or be reminded by an Alert of that Internal Assessment hand-in date. ACS Hillingdon has nominated itself as part of its strategic plan for becoming the leader in Technology and innovation. Egham and Cobham are positioned as feeder schools for Hillingdon in terms of ideas and developments in Technology use to support teaching and learning. We can provide the best practice and scaffolding through innovative trials that will ensure longevity and success for the four school iPad initiative.

At this stage iPads are to be implemented in the Lower School and Middle School at Cobham - the Lower school trials are advanced in nature and have been in process for over 12 months the Middle School trials are just beginning. At ACS Egham through a series of discussions it has been decided that we would like to trial the use of iPADs in a very different area and way within our school. The idea as already explained but very different to Cobham is to look at the device as a 1-to-1 device that will be used solely by a single student from the the High School IB Diploma program. As with the development of trials at Cobham - Egham will follow a thorough process of development, evaluation and reflection to ensure success outlined in the phased implementation plan described below.

There has been a myriad or models, false prophecies and pedagogical discussion about the use of technology with education today. The pivotal discussion obviously revolves around ROI# - and simply whether the amount of money pushed into Technological innovation actually leads to better learning within schools. The issue is often clouded by two simple mistakes that are often quoted and pushed forward to the centre of any argument :-
  1. The Prenskian black and white presumption that students are Digital Natives and teachers are Digital Immigrants with all forms of technologies. Although a wonderful argument it is one which is better explained in shades of grey and personalised when coming to look at student use of technology especially within the domain of learning, organisation and education. Often students are clumped as one body that fully understand not only how to problem solve and understand how to use a specific tool - but then also are able to fully integrate that into their toolbox for learning. I would suggest this is often not the case - however when a tool such as the iPAD comes along it represents ease of use for ALL students to be almost immediately used and due to its inherently convergent nature one in which can be guided to be used in a way that is educationally sound through linking with conventional methodologies.
  2. Technological Innovations within a school have to be teacher led and understood by ALL faculty as this makes for pedagogical sound models of use. The example often used is the Interactive Whiteboard which has rather than led to a revolution in the classroom led to a continuation and ratification of teacher directed - lecture based teaching with often a great deal of under-utilisation and little impact on learning in general: -

“School leaders around the United States continue to spend HUGE amounts of money on interactive whiteboards for classrooms, despite the fact that these devices universally FAIL to empower studentsto become more independent, self-directed and engaged learners in the way mobile learning devices (like laptops, tablets or other personal digital learning tools) can.”-

So the suggestion of the trial is to look at the 1-2-1 iPAD trial to see if can in fact facilitate the constructivist and independent critical thinking ideals of the IB Diploma program - simply by being the right tool for the job. The right tool due to its simplicity of use, native organisational abilities, innate flexibility and student controlled nature. It must be noted as a pencil, pen, laptop computer, the iPAD is not suitable for every task or every activity and it will be up to students and teachers to decide when and where the iPAD is suitable. It must also be noted that it may not fit with each teacher’s pedagogical style and often lead initially to worries regarding distraction and use within the classroom. So it will need to continually communicated and discussed that any 1:1 program typically works best within an experiential, project based environment where students are encouraged to use technology to research, explore and create. In affect these situations need to be dealt with initially through the agreement of students expectations throughout Grade 11 and implemented by students and teachers alike.

Even the most progressive models of technology implementation such as the SAMR model and measures of levels of impact on teaching and learning - focus most dramatically on the teaching. The challenge and ultimately the trial will succeed if the use of the tool by students more than teachers ends up not only substituting activities but also redefines others for example.
Even initial thoughts can however show the potential in these four areas :-
  • Substituting - using the iPAD and a ToDo application to write down things to do and deadlines to meet
  • Augmenting - using the Calendar to coordinator all ideas with alerts to make sure deadlines are met across all subjects
  • Modifying - using a quiz based tool to compete with other classmates on self made multiple choice tests
  • Redefining - using a social bookmarking tool to automatically post shared links to a group RSS feed

More thoughts and ideas will be regularly discussed on the iPAD or not to iPAD weblog here - .

Phased Development

Note some preparations have already begun before Phase 1 - listed below :-
  • Google apps domain and accounts set for Grade 11 students -
  • 4 Students have been trialing use of Google Docs using this domain in class - producing documents for assignments and collaboration
  • Trial use of iPAD and ownership - looking at viable apps specialising on organisation

- Phase 1 - Early January
  • Admin Meeting to communicate latest plans and receive agreement - Implementation Plan outlined here
  • Initial communication to all Stakeholders of plans and ideas for a Trial use of the iPADS
  • Expectations of use written - Teachers/Students
  • Teacher Communication to Grade 11 DP Teachers - regarding Trial, Expectations etc
  • Determine teacher champions? (Ideas could be a Teacher from each department - 8 departments + SS (HS) - Toni Mullen, CAS Coordinator, Extended Essay Coordinator + Advisors * 3 = 18 iPADS ...will be determined by interest and related to expectations of use
  • Teachers setup with GDOC accounts
  • Small Training Sessions (over Phase 1 and 2) - 4 * 1 hour
    • related to collaboration GDOC use and setup on iPAD
    • calendar use, setup - including groups and alerts
    • storage - dropbox and sharing of files
    • subject specific seminar app intros - Humanities(MindMapping for revision and review) eBook possibilities), Arts(Fabulous Sketching Apps), Sciences(Simulation apps), Languages (Translation Apps, Oral Practice), Technology(Drawing/Vector Apps linked to CAD) , Maths, English(Orals, eBook possibilities), PE (Video Analysis that finally works) etc, the CORE (ManageBAC / GDOC for EE / TOK - Multimedia Conversation)

- Phase 2 - Fluid Timing
  • Secondary Parent Communication written - for two student groups - Group A - ITGS Students, Group B - Grade 11 Students
  • Group A - Parent Communication sent and Permission slips returned
  • Group A start - Small test phase with a small number of Grade 11 students - ITGS students - 4 iPADS needed these will be embedded as part of their course looking into the social and ethical issues related to technology use in a variety of situations including Education. This will form part of assignments throughout the year, possibly an Extended Essay into the use by one student and also most importantly these four students will be responsible for organising “Genius Bar” sessions for other students when main program is underway
  • Group B - Parent Communication sent with meeting date scheduled for January/February?, philosophy and thinking, basics and logistics

- Phase 3 - Fluid Timing
  • Meeting to be held with Parents and Intro to Trial
  • Meetings during advisories (note these will be ongoing throughout year) held with Grade 11’s introducing the programs and expectations * 6
    • Student Expectations
    • Basic Setup of iPAD
    • The Toolbox of Basic Apps
    • GDOCS and use
    • Genius Bar - Introductions
    • First APP off
  • Teacher meetings and sessions to continue
  • Hardware and Charging Stations setup
  • During Extended Essay Introduction - iPAD use expectations to be explained for specific task
  • Roll out to all Grade 11 - 50 iPADS needed
  • Official Genius bar times - set with ITGS students and area in Diploma Centre

- Phase 4 - Fluid Timing
  • Evaluation / Determination of initial success through qualitative surveys through Google Forms, Group A - Analysis of impact through ITGS ( this could involve video analysis, interviews, monitoring of types of use, monitoring of apps etc)
  • ...more to follow...

The trial will have a mid point reflection in February and a report will be submitted to the Board. As noted before this will not be final - but will show an initial indication of successes and failures. A fuller evaluation point will take place at end of the second semester in June to decide success of trial and options to continue, change, expand or stop the trial.