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Monday, 2 August 2010

Innovating with iPods - Selecting the Focus

January 2010

After accepting the offer of support, a meeting was held at school with SMT and Education Bradford's Paul Scott, Lead Teaching and Learning Consultant (ICT), to outline the proposal and to discuss our initial ideas for the kind of project we would like to run.

The Questions

We had a number of questions to answer which would shape our ultimate decision:

  • Which Year Group(s) would benefit the most from this additional support? Could this be backed up with pupil progress data?
  • What would be the specific focus of the project?
  • Which device would best address this focus?
  • Should we operate an "in school" or "take home" project?
  • What would be the implications re: staff training? Would the answer differ depending on the Year Group we chose? Would there actually be enough time to provide this training?
  • What on-site support would we receive from Education Bradford?
The Answers

  • After an interesting discussion, it was decided that we would run the project with the current Year 5 cohort. Selecting Year 6 would have given insufficient time for the project to have an impact before the pupils left school (as it was already the beginning of the Spring Term). By choosing Year 5 we were able to see the process develop over four terms, until Summer 2011.
  • The project focus was simple but incredibly broad: to raise attainment in all areas of literacy and numeracy with a view to the cohort reaching floor targets.
  • As will be no shock, given the title of these posts, we chose to purchase iPod Touches. 96 of them in fact. One per pupil and member of staff in the cohort, plus an additional 10%.

Top Tip: When running a project like this, try to buy around 10% more kit than you actually need (or as much as your budget will allow). This will account for the inevitable loss or damage of the equipment. It will also mean that you have a device immediately available in the event of new pupils arriving.

Top Tip: If you are running a project with specific classes, try to provide each class teacher (and member of support staff, if possible) with a device of their own. This will provide an opportunity for them to become comfortable with the technology.
  • We decided that we should keep the iPods in school. We all recognised the tremendous benefits there were to extending access to this powerful learning tool outside of conventional school hours. However, with pupil mobility at around 27%, it was decided that we were likely to 'lose' quite a number of devices. Many pupils leave school mid-year and some of those disappear without any dialogue with school. We also thought that if the iPods went home we would be presented with additional issues if pupils attempted to add their own content.
  • There were obvious issues regarding staff training. We decided that there was very little time to actually provide much hands-on training. We decided that we would hold an initial meeting to unveil the project to the Year 5 team, introducing the device and some of the ideas we had to use them effectively, but that thereafter all support would come through lessons modelled by James Langley and I. Most of the support we would receive from Education Bradford was through James's time in school.
So that was it; decision made. We were to invest in iPod Touches for Year 5. Would you have chosen the same device? A different Year Group? Leave us a comment with your thoughts.


  1. V good post. Just one error - literacy - James' not James's :)

  2. I think you will find, Mr. Langley, that there is no hard and fast rule. Both James' and James's are perfectly acceptable. So there. :D

  3. Not in my eyes - It's my name so do as you're told. :)

  4. Have always had the same problem with the name Chris.