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Case Study: Using iPads To Raise Writing Levels

Ryecroft Case study

Using iPads To Raise Writing Levels

 

Ryecroft Primary Academy is an average sized primary with over 300 pupils on role.  It is situated in one of the most deprived areas of Bradford.  Most of the pupils are of White British heritage but over the last two years it has started to see an increase in intake of pupils of Eastern European origin.  The proportion of pupils eligible for Pupil-Premium is well above the national average and is currently around 80%.  The proportion of pupils supported through School Action Plus or with a statement of special education needs is also well above the national average.

 

An increasing number of pupils start and leave school at different times making the population very mobile which brings its own challenges. 

The school in 2013 was well above the national average in reading at 96%, which was in the top 20% of schools in the country,91% in maths and 78% in writing. In 2014 we achieved 86% in reading, 78% in writing and 74% in maths.

The children learnt how to use iMovie, Book Creator and Strip Designer in three half day sessions as part of Literacy work. These sessions were team taught by class teacher Kirsty McConochie and Tim Bleazard from the Curriculum Innovation service. Each session was followed up by more work in class using each app with a Literacy focus. There was a final training session based around the book Snapdragon. Children created a news report, comic strips and embedded all this into a book using Book Creator. They then continued to use these iPad apps in Literacy.

 

Children tracked in this project

Ten children were identified from different vulnerable groups. Some children had special educational needs, some were reluctant writers, and some had made slow progress.

The group made an average points progress of 4.3. The class made an average of 4.05 APS.  The most points made in this group was seven. All the levels have been externally moderated by the Local Authority.

 

Pupil

pre

post

Points gain

vulnerability

a

2c/1a

2a

5

EAL

b

2/1a

2a

5

Reluctant writer

FSM

c

1a

2b

4

Slow progress from previous year

d

2c/1a

2b

3

EAL

e

1a

2b/2c

3

SEN

FSM

f

1a

2b

4

Attendance

FSM

g

1a

2b

4

Slow progress from previous year

FSM

h

1a

2b/2c

3

SEN

FSM

i

1a/1b

2b

5

SEN

FSM

j

2b/2c

3b

7

Slow progress from previous year

 

Attitudes to learning- how has this helped them?

Child B was a reluctant writer. His attitude has changed completely, he would often write one sentence and stop.

Child I is a much more confident writer

Child J and Child A- their reading skills clicked in with the writing. They have seen how writing can be fun and can be incredibly creative.

The attention span of these children has shot up, at the start of the year they were barely writing two sentences in an activity.  The project has also had a significant impact on our reluctant writer as it has allowed them to approach their writing with confidence and a ‘can do approach’

Below you can see two images of pupil J’s work before and after the project.  Amount, quality, skills, paragraphing, speech, range of noun phrases, language development rich descriptive language.

 

Development of IT skills

This has been a secondary consideration as the use of the technology was focused totally on the raising of attainment in writing. We wrote in a variety of narrative and non-narrative genres and types of story, persuasive, non-chronological reports, news reports.

The iPads allowed the children to turn their writing into short films, to represent the thought tracking of characters and boxing up a story with the use of a comic strip app. Book creator was used to identify main events in the story but also allowed pupils to add photos of drama stills and tableaux, record narrations as well as add video and drawings.

We were also able to add persuasive videos on iMovie in follow up work.  From here the children have continued to use these skills and been able to transfer them into other areas of their curriculum to support their writing, for example when reporting scientific findings or results.

Pupils were able to take photos then manipulate them using resizing, rotating and cropping.  They also framed video shots, added captions, recorded voice overs, and formatted writing amongst other skills.

The iPads have allowed the children to edit and review, they can delete, edit and redraft retakes. Sometimes reading back writing isn’t the same as watching and listening. It’s much more collaborative and allows groups to discuss the effect of their writing and suggest improvements. iPads allowed editing with speed, ease and simplicity. There are no messy crossings out. There are some children who have issues with mess on pages made by corrections and this slows learning and has a negative impact on attitude to work and increases behaviour issues.

How could project further be developed?

This work can be extended through school with a similar focus on writing using these small number of apps. We will also look at other apps that can be used to extend the impact that the project had. The class teacher is moving up with this class next year so progress can be monitored over two years

Why was this project successful?

A willingness to embrace new technology in a focused, purposeful manner and incorporate it into lessons that were already outstanding as recognised by OFSTED.

The iPads. They are the most reliable, exciting and easy to use technological devices introduced into education.

We focused on a small number of apps iMovie, Book Creator, Strip Designer and Book Creator

Curriculum Innovation facilitated the project through identifying apps, workflow and adding and removing from devices.

Whilst mobile technology and apps has been used to facilitate the learning at Ryecroft Primary Academy the children are still supported and provided with feedback through the marking in order for them to make the appropriate progress in sentence structure and use of grammar. 

For example the next image shows a child's piece of work. The marking would reflect on the child’s achievement and learning objective and provide them with the next steps.

I like the way you have used the connectives and and because to extend your descriptions.

Now; Can you use or or but in your writing?