To: The Principal and Staff at Innovation School
Dear Mr Tryit and Staff
As you know, I have been firmly behind all of your initiatives to make the kind of education you offer at Innovation School more relevant, child-friendly and inclusive of twenty-first century aptitudes. I do, however, have some deep concerns about your recent introduction of the 1:1 iPad programme at your school.
My concerns have nothing to do with the expense or the fact that you have chosen iPads rather than allowing students to bring whichever device they prefer. As far as I am concerned, the iPad is the safest option both in terms of content control and network security – and the expense is justified in terms of textbook savings alone. My issues with the roll-out run deeper than this.
I would appreciate your considered response to the following points:
- How are you managing staff training? From the research I’ve done into the value of 1:1, BOYD and other device roll-outs, it seems that staff need to be intensively trained – not in how to use these devices and the apps they hold, but in how to use them to transform what happens in the classroom. Hence, how often are teachers getting together to reimagine how their classrooms work and the kind of education they offer? I presume it is at least once a week? Are you using the SAMR model?
- How are you training students? I do feel that if kids are going to use these devices to become more creative, more independent thinkers, they do need to receive some basic training in research skills, creative idea generation, critical thinking and in presenting their ideas effectively. I’m pretty sure my daughter (and most other students) can figure out how to use her iPad and almost any app, but I would like to know when and how you are going to be training them on using their iPads as an essential part of acquiring twenty-first century learning skills.
- Will you be training parents on how to manage our kids’ devices in terms of security settings and content management? Perhaps you would also consider talking to us about the same skills mentioned in the previous point so that we can support what you’re doing at home?
- I think that student training on online safety and digital citizenship is paramount. When are you going to be covering these skills?
- How will you be monitoring the success (or otherwise) of these iPads in learning so that you can make adjustments? What exactly will you be measuring and how will you do it?
Please give these matters some thought and get back to me as soon as possible.
Mr I.M. Konsurnd
* Yes, I made this one up. But it can’t be long until schools begin receiving letters like this (if they haven’t already). I think they are really important concerns. Best to be prepared.