Posts tagged ‘reflections’

Re-connecting with the project

It’s April 2015. How has that happened?

It feels like there has been a mid-project lull. I’ve have mild recollections of being excited at the beginning of the project & how good it was to be getting started early. There have been regular meetings with Yvonne, and it’s been really great that Mo joined the project in the new year too. At each of these meetings we enthuse about what we’re doing, share experiences and thoughts & I have the best of intentions to write these but don’t ever seem to get around to it.

Is this one of the downsides of keeping a reflective journal? I know it is a good research tool, once I start I usaully enjoy writing & I like having the posts to review and be reminded of what was happening. But this year feels like I have spent as much time berating myself for not updating the journal than actually updating the journal. Read more ►

Excited ramblings on having an iPad at home.

Having recently  joined this project I have been doing some research on using apps in the classroom.  I have found the JISC blog really useful. I did a search for ‘dyslexia’ and I enjoyed spending some time exploring the resources on the site:

I have a LONG list of articles I’ve read. My feeling is there is a lot of work being done in primary schools. I don’t understand why we ar so far behind. I spoke to a colleague in college and her daughter gets to take home an iPad from school. It is a real share we don’t have that opportunity for our FE students (it would be nice to have it for the tutors!!)

Having access to an iPad at home is great. My daughter has an iPad too so I have learnt a lot from her. I can now do a screenshot! It is so handy to have the iPad, I read it a lot in bed and it is so comfortable. I would never do this with my laptop. I read it a lot at bedtime – should I be doing that??

I didn’t put in a proposal to do my own action research project, but I was nervous about time – I’ve got 125 functional skills students to get through their exams!! Maybe next year I can apply to do my own project.

I’m really keen to take these into the class and I’m very frustrated by them not working. I hope next week that the students can get their writing tasks finished leaving a good 1/2 hour to have a ‘play’ with the iPads. I have two choices, either I will have them for the last 30mins as a reward for finishes, or I may give them first, then say once they’ve finished their writing they can use them again. Ss could also look to use speech to text to help them write their assignment.


*Mo joined our project just before 1/2 term and is exploring using a college iPad at home and the class set with an E3-L2 functional skills group

A surprise reply

Teacher: What would be your perfect app to help you improve your English?

Students ‘Scrabble!’

A surprising (to me) reply to taking the iPads into a E3-L2 English lesson for the first time.

by Mo.

Maths apps and BYOD vs paper dominoes

Three of the students from the E3 maths group have downloaded the Penguin Jump Maths Free Game onto their own phones and I have observed them using this in class, competing with each other, while they wait for me to start class! This is a great app because it covers all the four basic rules, the students can pick what they want to practice and they get to complete a race on the iPad and then keep track of the time it takes to do the game and compete with others in this way.

In one session I gave them an option to practice by playing a paper dominoes game or by playing maths games on the iPads and the whole class chose to use the iPads over the paper activity.



New Year reflections

Maths GCSE: Yvonne’s reflections

I have only used the iPads once in the class. It’s not feeling so ‘easy’ to bledd the use of the class iPads into the sessions as it is with the lower level group. I’m not sure if it’s because they have and use technology themselves already for work, but I don’t know if they are using it to support their maths. It’s not a novelty (which it is to the E3 group). This is an evening class, all students have been at work all day (and work full time) and come straight to class. I had wanted to use them this week, but it was a very intensive lesson so with 30 minutes of the class remaining I finished the class early as they had worked hard and I could tell they had enough – although there was time I felt it wasn’t the appropriate time to bring out the iPads.

Future plans:

  • consider using math specific apps for revision. Currebntly I think this is the only way I can use them, it may change but lets see.

Maths E3

The original plan was to review the apps already on from before Xmas and to choose whether to use these again or to try to find new ones. No wifi so no choice but to use existing ones.

Reflections on the lesson:

  • students are starting to help each other
  • I think the Ss like the iPads because they think they are playing – they are learning – but think it’s great fun
  • one student chose a app that was aimed at GCSE level  and she had a go at it and she got a couple of questions right. The student was happy to get a few right and she said she wants to do GCSE anyway so was happy to choose the app. She used the whole of the free app and then when I explained to get more questions it would cost £1.99 the student said ‘oh, I’ll look at that’. I’ll ask next week if she bought it? She is a new student who only started last week and she is very enthusiastic.
  • general feedback is that they really like the iPads and they have big smiles on their face when they see them!!
  • one student has a laptop, she won’t bring it into college because it’s heavy and bulky and she’s scared someone will steal it. She is now thinking about buying a tablet (after using them in class) because it’s lighter, smaller and easier to carry around. She said if she got one she would bring it into college. It will be interesting to see if this happens

Future plans:

  • Tell the students that there is a limited budget and which free apps do they like best and which do they want to upgrade to the full paid version. This will have to be a class decision – bringing literacy (debate) into the maths class.

Cert Ed/PGCE: Cathy’s reflections

Often during lessons I will say something about how amazing Twitter is, and link this to the lesson. I have also introduced the teacher ed Facebook page to the group and promoted this. During class today a student told me that since I’ve been doing this she has started looking at the Twitter feed on the VLE page and has ‘liked’ the facebook page and has found some interesting articles. Others agreed that these things were about offering opportunities for ss to make their own decisions about whether to use or not.


A new year. A new project.

I am really excited about being able to continue this research project for another year. I wanted to move the focus this year away from the tutors collaborating together and bring the students and the classroom practice more to the forefront.

The research questions currently are:

What are the educational benetis of using mobile technology in a classroom setting?

What is the impact of using mobile technologies in the classroom on students’ use of their own devices?

I am excited to be working again with my maths colleague. This will be the third year we have worked together – the first year we did a joint presentation at the RSC-YH regional conference on the Technology for Learning Delivery Course. Last year she took part in the iPad project, you can see the posts relating to her class here.

Last year I realised that the student voice had been initally missing from the project, so an aim for this year is to include the students at an earlier stage.  Yvonne has already made a start with this, and has introduced the project to her two groups – an entry level and a GCSE maths group. This has currently been done ‘informally’, the students will also be asked to sign a consent form to ensure they are aware that they are taking part voluntarily. Read more ►

methodology reflections: about

This section of the report are a collection of posts where I reflect on undertaking this action research project.

You will find here reflections on the different aspects of undertaking an action research project.

a reflection on methodology: the research question

For a long time I struggled to pinpoint what exactly the research was, particularly in relation to a focus on the technology or a focus on the collaboration between the tutors.

What I didn’t have clear in my mind was whether the tutors involved in the project were the research question itself, or whether the tutors were the methodology I was using to collect data on using the technology.

I don’t think I have any concrete answers to how we can effectively use the technology. The technology is moving so fast and you become familiar with one tool and it disappears. This has been true in the past and is still true today, as I have invested a considerable amout of time on Ask3, only for it to be discontinued.

I can share what I have learnt this past year and I hope that this gives some inspiration for someone to explore something new, but the biggest thing that has supported my exploration throughout this year has been the people and the discussions. A huge part of this has been the tutors involved in the project, and I have learned something different from all of them.

a reflection on methodology: my voice in the project

One thing that I struggled with a lot during the data collection and data analysis part of the project was how I could include my experiences in this final project report. At one point I wondered if I needed to have someone come to interview me, in the way that I had interviewed the other tutors, but this didn’t feel right.

Recognition that a reflective journal was a valid data tool for action research came quite late in the project & drawing on posts from my own blog & more informal notes I have made throughout the year has been a really valuable data tool.

Having the support from my mentor at emCETT was really valuable to help me recognise what I had to contribute to the project. Although I had taken a lead in terms of coordinating the meetings and setting up the iPads, in terms of using the iPads in class with my students I was very much an equal with the other tutors. Read more ►

a reflection on methodology: student feedback

I was always aware that I needed to get student feedback and the importance of gathering data from the tutors’ students in terms of triangulation. But for a long time I really struggled with how to go about this.

First I wrote a questionnaire to try to get feedback from the Teacher Education trainee teachers, but on reflection I don’t think it was a very good questionnaire. I wasn’t too sure what it was I was trying to find out from them or how it fit within my project. I only got about four responses and I’m not sure what it tells me.

I also talked to the maths tutor about how she could get feedback from her students and whether a questionnaire would be appropriate, but I didn’t really pursue this so maybe on some level I was aware that this was not the best tool for data collection from students.

It was when I had my first 1-2-1 with my fabulous #emCETT mentor that I started to gain some clarity on the situation. We talked about some of the activities I had done with my ESOL students and how I had engaged them in the research process. She knew I was aware of the Reflect Approach to ESOL and she recommended that I consider using this kind of tool to get some data from the ESOL students. Read more ►