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General Chat Thread, Parents to confront School governors over iPads in General; • Apple's closed ecosystem, means that only certified Apps can be installed, giving some degree of confidence in the Apps ...
  1. #136

    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    • Apple's closed ecosystem, means that only certified Apps can be installed, giving some degree of confidence in the Apps to which students have access. The Apps will not contain viruses and can be restricted by age group.


    This is why people fail.

  2. #137
    ozydave's Avatar
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    I would like to see the exam results of schools that have 1 to 1 iPads or other device pre and post there implementation.
    Has the cost in the back end wireless, switches and cost of devices brought about a big annual rise in results

  3. #138

    Ephelyon's Avatar
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    Let's bear in mind that such a move is likely to have happened within, say, the past three years. That may or may not be long enough for the impact on learning outcomes to become visible in terms of results.

    In particular I would assume you're referring to institutions with true whole-school 1:1; this is far less common than a phased introduction across year groups. In the case of the school I mentioned earlier, 1:1 has been rolled out in the bottom year group and is expected to reach Year 8 this coming September. Accordingly, there may not be any impact shown for another few years as we no longer measure levels of progress at the end of Key Stage 3 through examination.

    However, many schools do keep their own records perfectly well and I'd be asking for those - who knows, if all you want is an anonymised summary over time you may well be able to FoI it (just a guess). The statutory expectation is that pupils should make three levels of progress from Key Stages 2 to 4, so in the case of an early-adopter school that went for this a couple of years ago you could ask for data showing the anticipated acceleration in levels of progress over the course of Key Stage 3 for a particular cohort, along with how this affected band setting at the start of their Key Stage 4.
    Last edited by Ephelyon; 18th January 2014 at 09:04 PM.

  4. #139
    ozydave's Avatar
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    I would posit that a well motivated, well trained, respected by SLT group of teachers, good management of school, good governance would produce a far better set of results than any intro of *shiny* kit.

    There are many schools that are top in the country in terms of results that don't have shiny. They are are doing something right. Poorly run schools, have a higher turn over of staff. How unsettling is that for students.

  5. #140
    free780's Avatar
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    Ive found trying to get android playing nice with proxies and authentication is a right pain.

  6. #141

    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Should the success of failure of these devices be linked entirely to academic results? Can they not bring other value, enriching the learning experience, that's not so easilly measured by three levels progress, EBacc, or other flavour-of-the-month league table?

  7. #142

    Ephelyon's Avatar
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    Quite possibly, but the perennial difficulty there is: how do you measure it then?

  8. #143

    tmcd35's Avatar
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    I suppose the question becomes - why measure? What do we need to measure - if anything? I'm sure something can be done to log individual device access to show they are being used in lessons. Maybe it's a question for HoD's to be monitoring lesson plans and SLT's in lesson observations?

  9. #144

    Ephelyon's Avatar
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    I agree that having to "measure" every little thing lies at the heart of a lot of what's wrong with society in general (when it's done improperly anyway), not just this picture. The sad fact, however, is that the alternative is a whole load of white elephants - and haven't we seen enough of those?

    The idea of measuring the impact an innovation has had - particularly when large sums of money are involved - is to make sure we're not just throwing time/money/shinies at a problem and hoping it will go away. We've seen plenty of that in all sectors, so we bring in accountability to try and avoid it, as well as to inform future planning. But unfortunately, accountability relies on being able to measure the success or failure of something. "Did the £7K we spent on 32 tablets actually make any difference or may we just as well not have bothered?" After all, if it does have a positive impact, you might want to buy another set next year, whereas if it doesn't that's £7K you can spend on something else.

    So you have to be able to measure... something, in... some way. It's when the criteria and/or the process for doing so are messed up (often because the accountability for X rests with someone who doesn't really understand X) that we see these other problems we're all so familiar with...
    Last edited by Ephelyon; 20th January 2014 at 10:12 AM.

  10. #145

    tmcd35's Avatar
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    While I don't necerssarily completely disagree, I wonder if rather than being a question of measuring results, is it more a case of questioning value? What value is the device bringing to the classroom? Is the value improved results in some metric or another? Or does the value lie somewhere else? The ability to produce/display powerpoint presentations in any lesson? Improved Internet access? More dynamic facilities to write up work?

    Does results=value (or vice-versa)?

    I wonder if there is a danger of not buying into technical possibilities on the basis of not being able to quantify a perceved outcome? Looking for something that isn't there? Rather than asking, what I think is a more important question, what value does it bring to the teaching and learning experience? Sure you might get the same resuts cheaper out of a copy of Encyclopdia Brittanica, but...

  11. #146

    Garacesh's Avatar
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    Realistically we have to be able to quantify the choices we make, don't we? Especially when there's $thousands on the line. Think about it, if you called a meeting with your respective heads and said to them "I want to spend £12,000 (or some other arbitrary figure) to buy augmented reality glasses for each student." Just think about that for a moment. What's the first thing your headmaster/headmistress would say? "Okay.. Why?"

    Given how much money tech costs on this scale, of course it needs to be justified via some kind of end-result. I'm in agreement that we don't quite know what that end-result is. Unfortunately, whilst schools funding revolves around how many kids it has, and how many kids it has is loosely proportionate to exam results, that's the figure most people will compare it against. But it's rather difficult to be able to provide a direct correlation between tablets in classrooms and exam results, whereas it might be easier, for example, to compare an IT suite vs not having an IT suite.

    We need technology in classrooms. But is this a case of "Technology will actually help" or is it "We need to do something. This is something. We need to do this."

  12. #147

    localzuk's Avatar
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    The issue is one of accountability and value for money. Is spending thousands on devices a better use of money in a school than hiring more teachers?

  13. #148

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    Absolutely, @tmcd35, which brings us on to a common stumbling block. I'd agree that "value" is indeed the proper thing to measure here. The problem then is: how?

    I think the reason we so commonly "default" to exam results is that they're one of the easiest metrics to use. Regular, everyone does them, measurement criteria well-established, league tables every year etc. They're also cold hard numbers so you don't need to be a pedagogical expert to evaluate them (i.e. parents can see some evidence of how good a school is). What else could we use to actually measure the added value to the T&L experience? It's very often because people don't know - and the teaching unions like you to believe it's impossible anyway - that we just default back to exam results again.

    Also, @Garacesh, I know I'm nitpicking but I'd point out it's not so much the number of kids as the number of kids in groups, i.e. class sizes, that tends to have an impact on exam results, with smaller class sizes tending towards better results.

  14. #149

    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    The issue is one of accountability and value for money. Is spending thousands on devices a better use of money in a school than hiring more teachers?
    Surely the first priority for any school is to employ enough teachers to meet their curriculum needs. Will employing additional teachers beyond your curriculum needs be more beneficial to a school? Are you thinking smaller class sizes? How meny additional teachers will be needed to make to bring classes sizes down to a level that has a quantifiable impact? Is that staffing ratio a good use of school funds? Or are we looking at TA's? or Support staff?

    No doubt, the size of the project probably does require an SLT view on the impact of staffing, but I wonder if a number of schools would be looking at other parts of the budget - cost of printing, text book purchases, etc?

    I'm not overally convinced the question revolves entirely around staffing, if anything I think it's a seperate issue although not entirely unrelated. This is probably where schools like the one in the OP get in to trouble with parent "donations".

  15. #150

    Garacesh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ephelyon View Post
    Also, Garacesh, I know I'm nitpicking but I'd point out it's not so much the number of kids as the number of kids in groups, i.e. class sizes, that tends to have an impact on exam results, with smaller class sizes tending towards better results.
    Sorry if I wasn't clear enough - I meant kids joining the school is loosely proportionate to its exam results. School does bad? Not as many kids get sent there. School does good? More people join this year.



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