Working in groups to support independent learning with tablets
08 December 2014 15:18
Kaunas JP Vileisiu Basic School
My morning begins with a 75 minute drive from Vilnius to Kaunas. In this school, some of the students are in their third year of having access to the tablets. The school has worked with Microsoft for three years, and this has led to the development of the Microsoft Prestigio Classroom.
Like many other schools, it was a difficult to decide whether to give the tablets to a dedicated group of students or to share them between several groups. This school chose to give one group access, the 5th grade students are now in 7th grade.
- Do you give your tablets to an identified group of students and monitor their use?
- Do you distribute the access to tablets across the whole school, or a smaller group of students?
This morning, I spend time with Geidre Prialgauskiené who is one of a team of Creative Classrooms Lab teachers in this school. Today’s lesson is computer science. The students are working on the explore part of the scenario. The students have to design a Christmas card using different types of drawing software. The students work independently on the task. Whilst the teacher suggests that the students may like to use “Stickdraw”, she also encourages them to make their own decisions. Some students try Paintjoy and also apps by Doodle Joy Studio. The students use Yammer to write a description of each tool that they use and evaluate it; this is good for reflection within the lesson. This is a social media tool for schools; the teacher has set it up so that they can only see the work of their group. (The students need their own account on Yammer, but this is connected to their Office 365 account.) Some students are given ‘credits’ for their reflection on the use of particular tools as part of the assessment in the lesson.
My second visit is back in Vilnius to the Vilnius Jezuit Gymnasium
These students have access to the Samsung tablets just once a week in Physics. This Samsung Smart school has been in place for two years. However, at the moment, access to the tablets is only within lesson time.
In today’s physics lesson CCL teacher Antanas Dzimidavicius, the students work in pairs. The teacher begins by showing the students the learning objectives for the lesson. The students must use their individual devices to access various tasks using a QR Code. The first QR code provides a link to a quiz. The students complete this at their own pace within a Google form prepared by the teacher. Students can wear headphones, and they are asked to bring their own headphones to use. The students also have a link to the ‘subject content’ on slides. The student must answer the questions and then save their work to a pdf. on the Google drive.
- How can you support students who have good subject knowledge, but less digital skills?
- How can you make more time for teaching digital skills?
- What different roles can you give students within a lesson to enable them to demonstrate different skills?
In the final task, the students need to find the volume of a book. They have to take photos and make a video saying what they are doing at each step. This is a challenge because some students are competent with the use of the tablet, but need support with the subject knowledge, however, several students also need support with the use of the tablet. In this situation, it might be useful to put the students into small teams with dedicated roles within the lesson, i.e. dividing the tasks to ensure that students who have more digital skills can support the less confident students. Some of the students use Explain Everything to create their short videos explaining their calculations.
Next Stop: Belgium Wallonia