This post is the third in a series detailing the way in which we implemented a 1:1 program using Android devices at Forrester High School in Edinburgh. The post focuses on the implementation phase. To read the previous posts on planning go here, and preparation go here.
We held a meeting with all the parents of our soon-to-be S1 pupils before the summer holidays, outlining the Home School Agreement and highlighting the roles and expectations of parents and pupils. We discussed personal safety and how to look after the device, responsible use and e-safety. Surprisingly when we opened up the floor there were very few questions.
We wanted to distribute the tablets to our new S1 pupils as soon as they started at secondary school, and so a week into the new term we held another meeting for all parents and pupils. That evening the hall was packed – of our 140 new S1 cohort there were only 2 individuals not represented. I revisited the key points of the Home School Agreement in more detail explaining the e-safety provision that the school would provide, and how the tablets would be used in the classroom. After questions there followed probably one of the most bizarre moments of my teaching career where the Head Teacher, Business Manager and I formed three queues and distributed a tablet to each S1 pupil as they and a parent signed the Home-School Agreement. In just under half an hour we managed to distribute nearly 150 tablets between us.
I have been involved in a number of ICT initiatives during my time in education, going back 15 years to when we first installed a computer with web access in every classroom. These initiatives have always followed an all-too-familiar pattern – they have been led and delivered by the ICT / Computing departments in school. As soon as we rolled out our Android tablets however, it was clear that this time things would be different. A number of staff were confident enough to embrace the technology and introduce it to their classes without having to rely on direction from me. Within a fortnight apps like Edmodo, Evernote, Skitch and Socrative were being used by S1 across the school, a Maths class was blogging with WordPress and I saw a History class who were studying the Egyptians using Minecraft to build their own pyramids.
Although the tablets were being used by some staff in innovative and engaging ways from the outset, it was important that we found ways to share this good practice across the whole school to support all staff. We are attempting to do this in a number of ways
- We have established a 1:1 working party with a representative from each department. The aim is to use this as a forum to share good practice and then for members to take back aspects of good practice to share with their own departments.
- We have created a 1:1 blog which staff use to share the ways in which they use the devices in their teaching.
- We have produced a 1:1 wiki with links to useful apps and resources.
- We offer training to staff delivered either in-house, or by Edinburgh Council’s Digital Learning Team
For the next post in this series I will review the project as it stands now (five months in), sharing the positives and negatives and offering some recommendations for schools who are thinking about an Android 1:1 initiative.
More posts on our 1:1 Android roll-out
Part 5- Long Term Review