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General Chat Thread, Parents to confront School governors over iPads in General; ...
  1. #151

    Ephelyon's Avatar
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    We have that "problem" here. Because we're the local centre for SEN support, we have a high proportion of children requiring directed supported in the classroom. Consequently we have about 30 TAs as opposed to the usual 10 or so. All added up, there's your missing £350K or so that a normal school of similar size would have in disposable income that we don't, resulting in a lot of corners being cut elsewhere. That's my analysis of the problem anyway.

  2. #152

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Define curriculum needs. Studies repeatedly show that smaller classes lead to better results. So, that's effectively justification for more teachers. It wouldn't have to be every subject either - an extra maths teacher, an extra English teacher and you're potentially improving the 2 core subject outcomes.

  3. #153
    ozydave's Avatar
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    If schemes like this are such a good thing for education then the results must be measurable. The exam results would be the best indicator.
    If the results show no discernible increase then efforts / money should be pushed in a different direction. More good teachers with smaller class sizes. As others have said small class sizes have produced better results.
    If you owned a business with profit as the driving factor, you would never introduce something without clearly defined expected outcomes which have measurable impact on the said profit

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    farmerste (18th February 2014)

  5. #154
    SteveBentley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozydave View Post
    If schemes like this are such a good thing for education then the results must be measurable. The exam results would be the best indicator.
    If the results show no discernible increase then efforts / money should be pushed in a different direction.
    I agree up to a point, but the relevancy of what exams measure needs to be considered. If you introduce tablets to prepare students for life in a world where obtaining information is easy and so the emphasis is on how to apply that information*, an exam which is conducted in isolation from the outside world that relies on students being able to recall facts is, arguably, unfit for the purpose of either assessing students' learning performance or their ability to perform in employment.

    So yes, it needs to be measurable, but the means of measuring has to be relevant, and exams in their current form are not.

    * See Bloom's Taxonomy

  6. #155
    mthomas08's Avatar
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    I think I may have gone on a bit too much with this and still it only covers a very small portion.

    Itís interesting to see those who are supporting these types of schemes are quick to accuse others of being small minded. The same could be said because those in favour are taking a blind eye to alternative solutions. Main reason why these discussions turn in to arguments is because everyone has their opinion (usually based on years of experience) and that experience tells them to be anti-mobile devices in schools. Those with experience will also know that some times staff want their own iPad and they want to look good in front of the eyes of management and iPads are surely the perfect tool for that. So straight away the educational factor is not being considered when it is supposed to be the number 1 priority.

    Our students here are able to connect up to a separate Wi-Fi which is accessible by anyone on site, we have noticed that there has been a lot more android devices walking in the door compared to anything else. The iPads no longer have their own separate wow factor now that the competition have caught up with the production of tablets.

    I have been at my new job for 9 months and have recently finished a netbook report based on the schools current netbook scheme. I came to this job seeking to make a positive impact even if that means me supporting something I donít necessarily agree with. The head teacher is very pro mobile devices and wants to continue the scheme (now almost fully run for 3 years) and all I can do is provide the facts. Management here know they will get the facts regardless if I like them or not, thatís my job. To give them the real feedback from staff, students and parents while also showing them the costs and workload effects on IT Support and the school. Itís very easy to take a blind eye on this type of thing and only concentrate on the Proís and likewise the Conís. The last meeting I had with the Head pre Christmas I had been asked one thing straight away and that was is the scheme working: My simple answer was no.

    I can fully understand why schools go down the route of mobile devices, anywhere access certainly has its appeal. This school chose to do netbooks for that and ďProductivityĒ which at the end of the day means more than the wow factor. Surely you are going to improve grades by giving a student a multi tool capable of being productive throughout the entire day instead of something that does one or two things. Unfortunately as shown in my netbook report productivity doesnít always work.

    If anyone wants a copy of this netbook report now a month and a bit old and I really should update it, just PM me. Itís 6 pages long and although it covers what our own school has gone through some schools may find it very useful.

    I have also typed up some info regarding tablets, questions that we are raising due to us testing the Hudl. Two staff members have already come back to me with feedback from its usage with the classes and students. There is some important feedback comments, mainly regarding the touch screen typing and 7inch screen which is surprising considering the tablets are supposed to have the wow factor. Then again our students have been used to netbooks, being able to type on a real keyboard has always been easier for myself but it also seems the case for students and staff.

    I am currently waiting for 2 more staff members to get back to me with their class feedback. This information will then be added on to the Tablet report and all my findings will go to management.

    Bits that might be useful:
    Alternatives that do exist.
    Acer Iconia, Sumvision Astro, Nurvo, Surface RT, Lenovo tablets, Nexus, Hudl. The prices of these range from £120 to £230 sometimes depending on amounts. If parents are buying through the school then straight away you get bulk discounts (like surface RT can drop down to just under £200 which comes with Office RT). And donít forget the school doesnít pay VAT. I would also recommend on bags that actually have protection, our latest bags we got for the netbooks are better than what we had before.

    Insurance claims
    As a result of too many claims last year 2012-2013 we wasnít able to get coverage for the recent year 7s, same thing happened the year before that. The first year company actually bought the school out of the policy due to the amount of claims. We also deal with all the repairs/warranty issues which has added up our work load and we have even employed a 4th person.

    The current scheme is a full time 2 man job and this covers around 1000 devices and still some of my time and 3rd technician will be involved in the work load.
    Last edited by mthomas08; 21st January 2014 at 11:41 AM.

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    tmcd35 (21st January 2014)

  8. #156
    Quackers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozydave View Post
    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
    This is ours... Went 1:1 in 2009 and this shows the 2010,2011 and 2012 results.

    Parents to confront School governors over iPads-gcse.png

    One of the main reasons staff prefer it is, they don't want to use IT for the whole lesson most of the time, maybe just 20 minutes. So pointless and a waste booking an IT room or a laptop trolley for a whole hour when you only want it for a few minutes. 1:1 brings electronic resources available when required in the lesson.

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    SteveBentley (21st January 2014), tmcd35 (21st January 2014)

  10. #157
    Gibson335's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    If it was up to our DH we'd go out an buy 800 iPads tomorrow. I'm forcing a more slowly-slowly approach.
    Isn't this really part of the problem - school leadership should be demanding that the need for specialist technology is proven before it goes any further, yet in many circumstances they are the worst offenders.

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    Ephelyon (21st January 2014)

  12. #158

    matt40k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mthomas08 View Post
    I have been at my new job for 9 months and have recently finished a netbook report based on the schools current netbook scheme. I came to this job seeking to make a positive impact even if that means me supporting something I don’t necessarily agree with.
    I think this is a very good point. If the money has be spent, rightly or wrongly, you need to get as much out of that investment. It's important to reduce the damage as much as possible, too often systems\services\software gets written off rather then the effort to push forward trying to make it perform as best of possible - even if this is just getting it working.

  13. #159
    Gibson335's Avatar
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    I think supporting things we don't necessarily agree with is just part of the job - happens all the time.

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    Marshall_IT (21st January 2014)

  15. #160

    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mthomas08 View Post
    I think I may have gone on a bit too much with this and still it only covers a very small portion.
    Quiet the reverse, I don't think you've gone into enough detail Couple of points I thought interesting to pick up on, if I may...

    Itís interesting to see those who are supporting these types of schemes are quick to accuse others of being small minded.
    Since this is something I said, I want to be careful and not be taken out of context. I'm sure my fellow Edugeekers, whom I've discussed this with on numerous occations, understand where I'm coming from. I believe, as a techie, to look at a tablet device and not see the possibilities is small minded. That is entirely seperate and different to the wider debate of affordability, educational impact, school strategy, implementation, etc. I look at the form factor and see very real ways in which they can be used to enhance or enrich teaching and learning.

    Our students here are able to connect up to a separate Wi-Fi which is accessible by anyone on site, we have noticed that there has been a lot more android devices walking in the door compared to anything else. The iPads no longer have their own separate wow factor now that the competition have caught up with the production of tablets.
    It must be almost 2 years ago, back during Windows 8 beta, that I last did a proper review. Android was still on version 3. At the time, iPads looked to be the only option. The quality and consistancy of the Appstore contents set them appart. It'd be interesting to see how things have changed. IMHO, Jelly Bean often times feels like a more enjoyable OS to use the IOS (although IOS 7 as improved matters greatly). I also wonder what the Windows store is like now? Since Windows 8 is domain joinable, it may herald the best of all worlds?

    The last meeting I had with the Head pre Christmas I had been asked one thing straight away and that was is the scheme working: My simple answer was no.
    Are you able to share any detail on what isn't working about the scheme? Do you think it is totally unworkable, or is there scope for improvement with the right changes? Are staff engaging with the devices and promoting their use in lessons?

    If anyone wants a copy of this netbook report now a month and a bit old and I really should update it, just PM me. Itís 6 pages long and although it covers what our own school has gone through some schools may find it very useful.
    Very kind, I'll send a PM soon. Could be very handy considering the stage we are at here.

    Insurance claims
    As a result of too many claims last year 2012-2013 we wasnít able to get coverage for the recent year 7s, same thing happened the year before that. The first year company actually bought the school out of the policy due to the amount of claims. We also deal with all the repairs/warranty issues which has added up our work load and we have even employed a 4th person.

    The current scheme is a full time 2 man job and this covers around 1000 devices and still some of my time and 3rd technician will be involved in the work load.
    Sorry if I didn'y pick this up, but is this a full 1:1 scheme or are we talking large numbers of netbooks owned by departments ready for student use in lesson? If 1:1 are they entirely school bought devices, or are parents contributing/buying (and if so are you able to indicate how much)? I'd also be very interested to hear what the main reasons you get for repair are and what the biggest reason for insurance claims is?

  16. #161

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quackers View Post
    This is ours... Went 1:1 in 2009 and this shows the 2010,2011 and 2012 results.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	gcse.png 
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    One of the main reasons staff prefer it is, they don't want to use IT for the whole lesson most of the time, maybe just 20 minutes. So pointless and a waste booking an IT room or a laptop trolley for a whole hour when you only want it for a few minutes. 1:1 brings electronic resources available when required in the lesson.
    Can you show us the results for the prior 3 years also? In isolation, they're not really showing much. Not to mention, what other changes happened during those years, changes wise?

  17. #162

    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gibson335 View Post
    Isn't this really part of the problem - school leadership should be demanding that the need for specialist technology is proven before it goes any further, yet in many circumstances they are the worst offenders.
    While, yes - I would say, like meny schools, it's one person championing a seemingly good idea. That idea has yet to pass through endless SLT and Governor meetings before it's likely to bear any serious fruit (given the size of the outlay involved). IMHO, you need someone to champion developments or else nothing will ever get done. But that champion is really little more than a catalyst for further, serious, discussion (which is just starting now).

  18. #163
    mthomas08's Avatar
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    Didn't realise the interest

    Correct that I didn't go in to enough detail, my report is 6 pages long and only covers about 85%. A good example would be our 1:1 scheme covers Year 7, 8 and post16. It would cover the Year 9 but the insurance only goes for two years.

    Our procedures have changed in IT Support in regards to loaning, imaging and repairs. Things have developed since I started because we have gone from "Lets fight the fire" to "Lets see how we can make it better". My report has more detail about the daily issues we face, again if you go tablets you will find some of those do not exist.

    A typical silly example of a small % of our work would be spent telling students they need to wait for Windows Updates to finish and not to turn it off. Also flash, java, shockwave, air and adobe reader updates some times there can be issues regarding this or the students simply don't know how to do it. We have even prepared a Netbook area on our website which has downloads, tips, guides etc.

    Students also have a habit of not turning their devices off when on charge, if they unplug before they go to bed: they will lose a good % of charge by period 1 in the morning.

    I am not saying the entire idea is a waste but it will require your entire school to work together, that includes teachers who may think "Its not my job to worry about IT problems".

    Will send those who want the report in a moment

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