The Challenge of iPad Pedagogy

Staff training completed.


Make no bones about it, the use of the word completed couldn’t be further from the truth. My advice to anyone else undertaking an iPad trial, be more than prepared.

Imagine the most challenging class you have ever had to personalise learning for and double it. Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful for the vigour with which the staff and students have approached the training at such a busy time. It isn’t the device either. The iPad may have tips and tricks but its intuitive functionality has been embraced successfully.

The challenge lies in the pedagogy.

Exposure to app use, productivity and possible implications has opened up the proverbial can of worms, and it’s fantastic. Over the training period I have had discussions ranging from ‘how could I use this app’ to the effect on behaviour management particularly with the ‘engagement of a focused mind’. The challenge lies in the application, and the variables suggest pedagogy is difficult to qualify.

Whether you subscribe to the device as a consumption, creation or discovery tool, the technology opens the eyes of educators when given time to investigate. The diversity of comments based on subject, age and (dare I say) educational beliefs were tricky to respond to.

Not that I didn’t have my own ideas!

It just feels like the trial has a real chance of success and not because of the new technology. It is the desire of teachers to enhance learning and it is my firm belief that the iPad has sparked a greater interest than any recent learning and teaching stimulants.

So what to do next?

The challenge of pedagogy demands contact time between staff, students and those of us charged with coordinating. A staff and student blog will now be supported by a staff twitter account to encourage daily feedback/debate as well as the built in googleforms and analysis. Every question/suggestion and discussion is valid because of the diversity of subjects, staff and students.

It’s a challenge and it’s not about the technology!

(We are lucky enough to be joined by Ian Wilson (@ian__wilson) for the training programme. An ADE who was superb with students and staff whether helping with functionality or the nuances of an app. Very highly recommended)

About Daniel Edwards
Director of Innovation & Learning at the Stephen Perse Foundation schools, Cambridge, UK ( Interested in global connectivity for all and risk taking in education. Keen to discuss all aspects of learning and digital strategy. Also @syded06 on twitter.

19 Responses to The Challenge of iPad Pedagogy

  1. Pingback: iPad | Pearltrees

  2. Mr Wallace says:

    I agree. It’s not in so much in the tech itself, but the mindset of the teacher driving the lesson. So often I see iPads being used to fit the ‘current trend’ but the learning depletes! Teachers need to drive children through challenging assessment tools in collaboration with tech to increase and inspire attainment. Then, iPads can help stimulate and progress learning. This does take time – but it’s valuable time that needs to be invested by teaches and students, to meet the ever changing world demands!

  3. Jenny Lane says:

    Well done this is an interesting piece. I think the iPad forces teachers to think differently about their teaching. It is not a mini computer. The combination of the apps and the mobile touch screen give it very different functions.

  4. Pingback: How much PD do we need to be ready for one2one learning with iPads? What works best at CIS? « melaniekells

  5. An interesting article. We’re at the beginning of this journey

  6. BalancEdTech says:

    I love the discussions working with iPads and apps provoke! We’ve developed a few self-paced “workshops” for teachers that raise some interesting responses:

    iPad Exploration –

    Apps Taskonomy –

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  14. The key focus I’ve had with my staff at this similar point is ‘Don t fall into the trap of every child doing the same thing’. In a traditional classroom, the teacher set a task and told the students how to complete it and they all went away and did exactly the same exercise. 1:1 iPads should mean an opportunity to personalize the learning beyond anything we’ve ever had before. Our teachers this year are really challenging themselves to set students a challenge and explain why it has been set, but then to leave the ‘how’ of completing it up to the students. There’s a magic in seeing the variety of things students come up with in response, and the huge variety of apps they use. Some even use pencil and paper and thats fine too.
    1:1 shouldn’t be about every student using the same app at the same time. It should be about 100 different avenues for students to achieve the same learning goal, and therefore being able to tap into their own learning strengths and their own creativity in their responses. The biggest pedagogy shift is for teachers to ‘let go’ of dictating how everything needs to run in their class.
    Good luck with it. It certainly is exciting times!

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  16. I truly understand your plight with the implementation of your iPad program. A school site that I have been working with began its implementation a little more than a year ago. There were challenges as well. View some of our tasks as they began their journey. Link: Go back to our first post on December 9, 2011. It has not been an easy journey, but fun.

  17. Pingback: The Challenge of iPad Pedagogy | Online Language Learning

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