A cohort of 15 teachers across 6 departments explored ways to use technology to enhance teaching and learning. iPads were the primary device of use in these explorations, but the explorations were not constrained to one device.


Our starting inquiry questions

How can technology be used to enhance teaching and learning throughout the school? How does technology extend students' ability to communicate, make connections and represent their understandings in ways that would not be possible without technology?

Actions

Purchased 90 iPads in 3 carts for use throughout the school. Since the beginning of the project 30 additional iPads have been purchased for use in a Social Studies classroom with the district project looking at the use of etextbooks.

Allocated a set of 30 iPads for a joint 1:1 (24/7 access) project in Humanities and Science 8 with one class of students shared between two teachers working collaboratively on the exploration of the technologies and its unintended consequences while teaching within their own curricular areas. Student and teacher reflections were collected throughout this project as a method of ethnographic research.

15 teachers were equipped with iPads for full-time use in their teaching practice, along with a laptop, digital projector and video cameras available for use.

The remaining 45 iPads have been made available for booking throughout the school on a short-term basis (1 day to 1 month).

Supports


One time district grant of $80,000 for technology purchases. Full school open wireless network accommodating up to 1500 devices.

School administration has enabled and encouraged the technology purchases, teacher meetings and reflection meetings with students (all with food provided).

3 professional development days (2 in June and 1 in August) where the Tech Cohort met and were supported with a trainer to look at possible ways of leveraging the technology in our teaching practice.

One additional Technology Facilitation block for a teacher to support management of the iPads and work one-on-one with teachers implementing technology in the classroom.

School staff visits to Calgary Science School/ConnectEd Canada Conference and High Tech High (San Diego, CA).

Professional reading to filter and critically examine the student responses and use of technology in the 1:1 project.

Assessment


Weekly meetings between the Humanities and Science 8 teachers to discuss the 1:1 project with an eye to evaluate the affects of the technology on the classroom environment, shared modalities of instruction, and common themes.

Collection of student written reflections at key points throughout the project. Face to face meeting and discussion with students about the experience of having 24/7 access to the iPad, the effects on engaging with the curriculum, and the unintended consequences of having the devices as part of the learning environment.

Teacher sharing of experience at Tech Cohort meetings and informally.

Synthesis - Profound Student Learning or Teacher Learning/ Practice


"A new medium does not add something; it changes everything."
- Neil Postman, Five Things We Need to Know About Technological Change,
http://www.mat.upm.es/~jcm/neil-postman--five-things.html

We must mentor students through the distractive properties of technology to gain a sense of appropriate time and place when the device extends beyond time and space.

Each technology brings its own environment and influence on the educational process and classroom environment. It is hoped that the ethnographic study will be written and shared to reflect on the impacts of those changes brought by the iPad.

Working toward having one student's short story published on iTunes as an interactive ebook.