The Teaching Team found that their students were very keen to work with iPads during maths lessons, either individually or with a partner.
The Teaching Team observed that all of their students, even those who had previously shown little enjoyment of or interest in maths lessons, were excited each time the iPads were brought out for an activity. Not only did the Teaching Team notice an increase in their students’ enthusiasm, each teacher also commented on a change in their classes attention span.
Students who often had a short attention span on tasks that were not teacher directed, remained focused and involved while using an iPad, either working individually or with a partner. One benefit of this increased class engagement was that it provided teachers with an opportunity to spend time with students needing support or enrichment, confident in the knowledge that the rest of the class was immersed in their own learning.
The students in this project worked very confidently with the iPads. Several teachers noted that during the five weeks students assisted and helped each other with activities. One teacher commented that help was always close at hand for her students and no one felt intimidated by the iPads or apps.
Interestingly, the Teaching Team also commented on their surprise that even though their students were highly engaged, working together and having fun, the noise levels remained low.
The Teaching Team found it very worthwhile to carefully consider when and how to group children to work together on an iPad. Thoughtful pairings of students helped to increase their level of interaction and engagement.
At times, teachers paired students who were working at a similar level of understanding. Several apps let partners challenge each other in a game, requiring them to work quickly and accurately to score points and rewards. When partnered with an appropriate challenger, students enjoyed these games. Teachers noticed that this interaction increased the speed, accuracy and confidence of their students.
At other times, teachers would partner students together in ways that would particularly assist their students with learning and support needs. These pairings helped to stimulate conversations, enabled students to demonstrate or explain a concept to their partner and provided support to students needing additional time to become familiar and confident using an app.
The Teaching Team consider that one of the most influential factors contributing to their students’ engagement was the opportunity they had to demonstrate and share with their classmates what they had accomplished using the iPads, either in a circle share time or by mirroring their iPad up on the Interactive White Board. One teacher commented that she thought the knowledge that their task would be shared and discussed inspired the students to create high quality responses. Another benefit of these student demonstrations was that they promoted class discussion about the different strategies students had used to find answers to challenges.
Video: Excited Students
The two girls in the video below are not only enjoying their maths activity. One girls takes great delight in showing her partner ‘something really special’ she can do on her iPad.