Freaked Out: The bewildered teacher’s guide to digital learning

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There are an awful lot of iPads now being used in schools, with a few brave souls even opting for 1:1 deployment. One example is Casllwchwr Primary School in Swansea, Wales, which equips each of its pupils in Key Stage 2 (7–11 years of age) with their own iPad for the duration of their stay.

Freaked-OutIts headteacher is Simon Pridham, one of a small band of IT evangelists who are spearheading the effort to get our schools to embrace digital learning. Aware of the yawning gap that exists between technological innovation and teacher confidence he has written this short book to help digital ditherers take their first steps.

And his chosen vehicle, as for many others, is the iPad. But this is a book with a difference. Structured like a hands-on workshop it starts with a brief introduction to the iPad itself, answers the muffled question ‘What is an app?’ and explains how to create an Apple ID and iCloud account. Then, with the preliminaries covered, the real fun begins.

Readers are shown how to download three apps: Aurasma, Red Laser and Audioboo. These are, in turn, an augmented reality platform, a QR Code Reader and a social podcasting platform. Rather than abstractly describing these apps and their potential educational uses, however, Pridham skilfully integrates them into the design of the book using them to take us off the page to Apple’s App Store (for further downloads) and to short video and audio clips replete with practical tips and first-hand accounts from Casllwchwr’s digital team.

Enveloping all of this is a sound educational philosophy – ‘inspire, engage and enthuse’ – and a tried-and tested framework for involving the whole school community, including parents and grand-parents in this digital journey. Importantly, this includes mapping out an internal structure that recognises and harnesses the different skills and expertise of pupils and staff.

While Freaked Out is not explicitly aimed at those working with children with special educational needs its central message of encouraging creativity, personalised learning and collaboration among pupils is relevant to all settings. As Pridham rightly states: ‘You need to have a love of learning, be able to model effective learning systems, be brave enough to take risks, be innovative,and, most importantly, become a teacher of learning rather than a teacher of content, curriculum and facts.’

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Simon Pridham – Independent Thinking Press – ISBN: 9781781351055

Reviewed by Diane Crew

8.5 Awesome

A good book to read Simon Pridham has some good points throughout and I think a lot of people will find this a useful guide.

  • 8.5
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