Two providers, CARE and Landau, have recently reported on the benefits to their teaching and learning of using iPads.

The providers borrowed a set of eight iPads for a term, and used them with learners. The iPads had a really positive impact on learning, offering lots of opportunities for enhancing the learners’ experience. Here are some of the comments the providers have made:

  • They particularly enjoyed researching recipes and the cake designs.
  • Learners enjoyed the quality of photos that were produced.
  • The more ICT proficient learners were able to help the less proficient learners which gave an opportunity for inter-generational learning, teamwork and sharing of ideas. More collaboration/peer working.
  • An increase in independence of learning during the sessions.
  • helped learners to extend and transfer their learning to support their personal situations.
  • quickly became confident with basic navigation and research.
  • Touch technology and the use of a large inviting screen gave learners confidence and ensured it was accessible to all.
  • We noticed that several learners used the iPads on their own initiative, to extend their learning beyond the classroom
  • They enjoyed being able to access them at their own discretion, during formal learning sessions and informally during lunch and break times.
  • a high improvement in learners’ attitude and approach to accessing learning for themselves.
  • learners have also been really keen to share their IT skills with each other and have engaged readily in supporting and problem solving with other learners.

The full reports are available on Fenc here. Many thanks to CARE and Landau for trialling the iPads, for supporting their use in sessions, and for their fantastic reports on the impact.

Whilst these resources may not be available to every tutor, it is worth considering what IT resources you do have available and how you can make the best use of them. More and more learners do have smart phones, which have many of the features of an iPad – eg: access to internet, photo, video and voice recorders. Increasingly learners may also have tablets. Even if you don’t have access to a wifi connection you may be able to activate a Portable Wifi Hotspot from a mobile phone so that learners could use tablets to connect to the internet. As learners use these devices more and more in their everyday life, it makes sense to encourage them to bring them into the classroom and use them here too.

Tech-less is more!

Even without technology/internet available in your classroom, you can enhance what you are doing by encouraging learners to use technology once they have left the classroom. Here are my top tips:

If learners have access to the internet at home, ask them to research a topic for independent learning—encourage learners to use their local library for internet access.

Ask learners to exchange email addresses or mobile numbers to keep in touch between sessions. They may be happy to get in touch via facebook, twitter or google+ if they use these social media.

File sharing eg dropbox or Google docs allow you to save documents on the internet and give others access, similar to a shared drive. They will need internet access and email. Learners could have access to documents for homework/independent learning. They can also have access to change the documents or upload their homework to the shared drive. For the more confident: try Wiggio

Encourage learners to use a computer to word process their written work at home. The result looks more professional and they can use the spell-checker to support their English. 

Celebrating achievement—Use a digital camera or video to record learners’ work. The photos/video could be shared by email or even posted to your organisation’s website or twitter—with permission.

Finally, keep an eye on Twitter for details of new materials available on Fenc, including examples of good practice.

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