Every student I teach at St Cyres School has their own iPad for learning and this has enabled me to completely transform my classroom into a digital environment.
In 2014, when St Cyres School moved into a brand new build and adopted a 1:1 Apple iPad scheme, I digitised all of the paper resources to substitute the sheet music and assessment forms. The benefits of this enable easy access for both the teacher and student, whenever and from wherever they have an internet connection. Photocopying has drastically reduced and gone are the days of taking hundreds of exercise books home for marking. Written feedback can now be given instantly through the collaborative features, even when the students are currently working on it themselves!
When the Apple technology was first introduced, I spent time discovering how my teaching environment could change by referring to the SAMR model. This model has four levels of how the technology can be integrated into the classroom.
Since working with the SAMR model, I always strive to redefine the way music lessons are delivered and having the iPad devices in every lesson has enabled this to happen.
Music is obviously a very practical subject and the iPad devices have enhanced the way we compose and perform. The app GarageBand enables the students to compose and perform using high-quality sounds that even respond like real instruments, such as being able to bend a string on the guitar. Due to the quality of the sounds, this not only creates better compositions and performances but it also engages and challenges the students, so they constantly want to improve their learning.
Key Stage 3 students use GarageBand to compose, enabling them to produce professional sounding music which can easily be shared with the teacher, their peers and even family members at home. Each music classroom also has a suite of Apple Mac minis running Logic Pro X and this enables Key Stage 4 students to create high-quality GCSE compositions. Since creating music with these apps we’ve seen a major increase in composition grades.
Due to every iPad having a built-in camera, this has enabled me to redefine how we self-assess and evidence classwork. Before the technology, we assessed the students’ work by using a paper sheet. This worked well but it did result in short and basic answers from the students. To create an engaging and challenging assessment task, the students use the camera tool on the iPad to demonstrate what they have learned, discuss what went well and what needs to be improved. They also predict their attainment and effort level. This is then shared with the teacher.
You can download my book about ‘Classroom Vlogging’ here: –
St Cyres School has just refreshed all of the students’ iPad devices. The students now have faster processors, bigger storage and a much higher quality built-in camera. The iPad devices are running IOS 12 which enable the students and teachers to use the latest apps for learning in the classroom.
Recently, Apple has released the Everyone Can Create curriculum which is in the form of a series of books containing resources for students to create with iPad devices.
Being a music teacher I am particularly looking forward to using the music curriculum with all of my Year 9 students after October half term, so watch this space for blogs about their progress.
Click here to download the Everyone Can Create Music Book: –