Mobile @ Priory–the secret classroom

the secret classroom

On Wednesday, we created a secret classroom in the school’s main hall.  Then we invited everyone to see it. 

We were showcasing the work created during the second phase of the Mobile @ Priory project.  The aim was to create some embedded learning sequences that made use of mobile devices (including pupils’ own) so that the mobile device policy could be built upon.  Of course, in the tradition of guerrilla (chalk graffiti for example) we wanted to hold a trade fair with a difference. 

An overview of the project is represented in this graphic, I’ve tried to avoid any jargon or too many subject specific terms.


I’ll try to describe the main findings before digging deeper.  I’ll post about each individual lesson separately, hopefully as a guest post from each teacher.  These findings are preliminary as we are still evaluating. Also, I’m keen to point out that the use of mobile devices is only presented as tool for learning.  Like any other tool, including glue sticks and mud, using it is only effective if its use is both appropriate and linked to sound learning objectives.

  1. If you give teachers time to collaborate and plan, fantastic learning sequences will occur.  This isn’t limited to this project.  Each teacher was given three hours with the amazing Ian and Lee from Borbonesa and DiGITAL LEADERS.  The young people were simply stunning, working with the adults in a truly breath taking and unexpected way.  Three hours may seem a lot, but considering that teachers get five days per year or around 25-30 hours, of in-school Inset days, completely doable in my opinion.  Each group of people brought something valuable to the table.  Teachers the expert knowledge of their subject and curriculum context; the DiGITAL LEADERS the perspective of young people and what they can actually do (as opposed to what we think they can do) and Ian and Lee the creative input.
  2. It’s not about the device, it’s about the learning. DTRM folding bookAs this image shows (a folding project booklet put together for the DTRM @PrioryBench project), good quality resources are needed to support learning.  Young people do have almost ubiquitous and easy access to technology, but as consumers.  They simply aren’t aware necessarily of how to use the devices to be creative.  Google et al simply don’t provide the guidance for the creative process for most students.  Yes, there are the case studies of the brilliant, self-driven entrepreneur young person, but I would argue that they would rise even if there wasn’t access to technology.  Learning needs to be well supported and linked into solid learning sequences.
  3. Trust young people and they deliver. Most of the time.  I work in what could be considered a challenging school.  Over the past year, when encouraging young people to be independent and collaborative, they have been.  The learning has been messy and lower ability students still need the ‘quick win’ and encouragement that ‘right’ answers give.

During the day, we collected live information about student devices using a giant paper scrolling machine.

giant paper scrolling machine

live lego graphThe DiGITAL LEADERS captured the event as well as holding discussions on the way forward with this project.  They also helped to keep track of data using a ‘live’ graph created from Lego.

Did we engage everyone? No, especially some teachers.  Did we start conversations? Yes, I think we did.  Did we create disruption? For sure.  Will that disruption result in change and the adoption of mobile devices? It already has. 

More to come?…………

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