Apr 10

More with the Year 9 iPad explorers

Lesson 2 – Year 9

Aim: To get students using iPads for research purposes
I feel that one of the main useful purposes for iPads in English lessons is the ease at which research can be undertaken right inside the classroom, rather than having to go through the process of booking an IT Room 3, sometimes 4, weeks in advance. Students have access to a plethera of non-fiction and media texts to analyse, as well as literature and reference based sources. To try this out I gave my Year 9 iPad trial group the task of researching time capsules – all part of the current SoL and encouraging students to work in varied peer groups. This would lead to a Speaking and Listening assessment in a few lessons time. This meant iPads were purely used to aid learning and not control it.


3 tasks were set and students were told to manage time and resources (iPads/research sheets to record findings/group members – who would do what?). 2 students were chosen to work as learning spies observing and record learning and behaviours of all groups. The students did not know they were being observed by their peers until the very end when all was revealed! Out of 6 groups, 4 were spotted off task at some point during the lesson trying out different apps on the iPads. Once I had addressed this in general – making it clear to them the evidence I had about their usage of the iPads would make a difference in whether they would get more opportunities to use them, these people soon settled into the tasks. The other 2 groups stayed on task for the whole lesson and used the iPads with ease and found them extremely useful. These were not the ‘good’ students of the class either – proving perhaps that this kind of technology can potentially be embraced and used responsibily by all…despite other groups proving the opposite maybe.


At the end of the lesson all students had made progress and felt extremely happy with the way the research had been collected for many reasons – it was as easy as using a computer, you could discuss what you had found as you went along much easier than in an IT room, it was fun and from a teacher’s point of view – it was also interesting to notice how it could be used to enhance note taking and summary skills (the iPads were used for the research only and not writing up of notes). Some students evaluated the process by saying that it was better than using an IT room because people would often see a lesson with computers as an ‘easy’ lesson, whereas this was very different.


Overall, a positive lesson with a very calm atmosphere from a normally very lively group. The Learning Spies definitely noticed how successful the iPads were when used appropriately. Lesson 3 tomorrow brings the management of ideas using the iPads (iThoughts HD perhaps?). More feedback then…