We take a look at the Art of the Possible campaign at Lime Academy Abbotsmede in Peterborough and how it’s helped students engage with the school curriculum. Richard Poth, Jigsaw24’s own Professional Development Consultant, has been working closely with both children and teachers to show them how they can improve engagement and produce better results through their iPad journey.
Abbotsmede is just one example of the Lime Academy Trust schools benefitting from the Art of the Possible campaign spearheaded by Jigsaw24. The project covers the deployment of iPad into the classroom and includes teacher training and a series of assignments that help the students become comfortable using iPad in a classroom setting. It includes coaching and mentoring for the teachers, as well as a series of lessons co-taught by Abbotsmede staff and our training team. This way, both students and teachers become more comfortable with integrating the technology into the learning.
After deploying iPad, every child in the selected classrooms has access to their own device in what’s known as a 1:1 scheme. Abbotsmede have used this as an opportunity to go paperless through the use of Showbie, a platform that provides opportunities for the teacher to give instant feedback as students hand in work in real time. Years 5 and 6 have been the first to implement the switch – a change that will have a positive impact on both the learning process and the environment.
Abbotsmede kickstarted the project with the students being asked to solve an ‘escape room’ type of puzzle, in which they had to unlock a box containing their iPad. “The clues were all coding based and the students had to work as a class. The reward in the box was an introduction video from Roger Whittle, the CEO of Jigsaw24, explaining to the students what they would be doing over the coming weeks,” explained Richard. Once the full project is completed, Jigsaw24 will showcase a selection of the students’ work on our website as an incentive. This approach ensured that the students were engaged with the project from the start and that they had a personal connection to their devices.
“As part of the ongoing support the training team are providing schools, it was important that as a team we worked with teachers in the classroom as well as coaching and mentoring them. So as a team we started to develop projects where we could offer Professional Development in a team teaching capacity where the teachers would learn how to integrate technology with the students in the classroom,” said Richard.
The school worked on a coding task that sees students create their own videogame based on curriculum material using applications like Scratch and Ed Puzzle. Some examples of subjects they’ve chosen to tackle include the solar system, World War 2, London, the Shang dynasty and many other subjects. “The first two weeks were about planning and linking to literacy objectives. They would need to gather ideas, understand the skills needed in their team, formulate facts, questions and answers and make a promotional video to persuade others to play their game. Weeks 3, 4 and 5 were about building the game in Scratch using the video sensing code on the iPad. Students were encouraged to continue learning at home using recorded videos on the Edpuzzle platform. At regular intervals the students needed to screenshot their code in Scratch, insert it into the Keynote presentation, record a voice note explanation of what they have done so far and then upload the slide of the Keynote into Showbie as a movie so the teachers could monitor their progress,” explained Richard.
The goal is for the students to share the games between themselves once completed, so everyone can experience them and learn through the material their classmates have created. The students have been given a keynote presentation that is designed to record their progress. Students regularly use this presentation to reflect on each section of the project, as well as answer questions using multimedia tools. These reflections can then be uploaded to Showbie so the teacher can assess and showcase learning instantly. “The final part of the project was to reflect on everything using the Keynote they had developed. The students would need to view their whole Keynote presentation and watch their regular reflection and then give a final video reflection on the last slide of the project,” said Richard.
“The students have been fully immersed in the video game project. They have been enthused to learn how the code blocks work and have discussed their teamwork and how it has supported them to use Scratch. The Y5 pupils have been enthused with using the devices as they are able to switch easily between lessons and there is instant access to a range of resources to support with learning. All of the learning is much more interactive and pupils can share good practice through AirServer. Pupils have commented how they can share their work and show each other ideas to and magpie ideas,” added Lee Dobson, Lime Academy Abbotsmede's Headteacher.
“[...] there is instant access to a range of resources to support with learning. All of the learning is much more interactive and pupils can share good practice through AirServer. Pupils have commented how they can share work and magpie ideas.”
One of the challenges faced by Abbotsmede and schools taking a similar path to technology integration is to truly adapt the way learning takes place. It is not enough to drop technology in the students’ laps – both pupils and teachers must be fully on board with the innovative digital approach to make the lessons more interactive and truly get the most out of what new technologies can offer.
Richard also believes in encouraging the pupils to engage directly, meaning a student who knows how to do a task can show their classmates in a peer-led learning approach. This results in the children being more receptive to the instructions and truly processing what they are being taught as they explain it to others, cementing the information in their minds. Technology is an incredible way to implement these processes in the classroom.
“The iPad that have been implemented in Years 5 and 6 have added an extra layer to the classroom dimension. The pupils have developed their collaborative and problem-solving skills. They are much more confident at finding ‘work arounds’ and solutions to challenges. There is also an increased layer of creativity that the pupils are all showing,” said Lee.
This is only one of the many benefits of the interactivity of iPad, which provides opportunities for further learning. For example, through the voice recognition systems, a child can speak out a word and instantly see how it’s spelt, meaning precious classroom time is saved and the students can get their questions answered without disrupting the flow of the lesson. We have also found that the use of technology improves behavioural issues because student engagement has increased exponentially. We are currently looking at how the use of iPad can improve learning in children with special needs, given how the learning experience can be personalised with the use of technology.
Jigsaw24 has also delivered training to the teachers as part of the project, so they have the confidence to deploy iPad in the classroom and oversee the 1:1 learning process. Our training is delivered by former educators on-site to ensure it is fit for purpose and addresses the actual needs of the classroom, as we are always open to the teachers’ feedback to ensure the training is adaptable and fresh.
“The teacher training has been excellent. The teachers and teaching assistants have all learnt a range of new skills that they are able to use in the classroom and beyond. As a headteacher, whenever I cover a class or a group, I always use my iPad to teach. The staff members that have had training days as part of the development package have been so positive about the support and it has provided opportunities to think about and use the iPad more creatively and, in turn, more effectively in the classroom,” said Lee.
The training begins at the earliest stages of planning so the school can determine what they want to achieve and what devices they will need for this. We walk the school through each step of the process, and it doesn’t end once the machines have been deployed: we stay on to deliver tailor-made sessions that cover coaching and mentoring for teachers to succeed in any specific challenges they’re facing and get the most out of the use of technology in the classroom.
“The iPad project has been amazing for our school. It is providing endless opportunities for our teachers and pupils to develop their learning. Our vision is centred around setting our children up to succeed in a world where the job they go for may not currently exist,” added Lee.
“Our children are able to use the technology and talk about it confidently. We would not have been able to implement the project effectively if it wasn’t for the help, support, guidance and training from Jigsaw24.”
“Working with all four Lime schools for this project has been incredible,” said Richard. “Over 250 Year 5 students have created their own computer game in some capacity and have had a wonderful learning experience. This is certainly something I would like to deliver in other schools around the country.” Abbotsmede is only one example of the many schools we’ve helped implement technology into their workflows.
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