Last Tuesday I was lucky enough to be invited to Apple HQ along with some other ADEs to meet with Abdul Chohan, Director of Essa Academy in the UK (and also an ADE) to hear his story on the transformational change at Essa using agile technologies, passionate teachers and amazing teaching and learning resources.
To learn more about the school and Abdul’s amazing story, click here or check out the video below:
Once earmarked for closure, a school outside Manchester in England uses iPad, Mac and iTunes U to achieve a 100 per cent pass rate.
It was great to be able to chat to Abdul and hear about some of the great initiatives that are changing the lives of his students.
Essa’s teachers use a range of resources, one of them that has had such a huge impact on teaching and learning is the use of iTunes U. As you may know from many of my previous posts last year I was also a huge proponent of iTunes U and created courses for nearly all of my classes (along with iBooks) and saw first hand the power of this original and personalised resource (you can check out some of my older courses here)
A few things I took away from our chat was the importance that school leadership plays in making change happen. Abdul explained that the reason why iTunes U was such a success amongst teachers was it was a “nonnegotiable” and was “fully supported by the school’s leadership team”. This, along with great teacher training and support lead to such a high take-up rate by the staff.
Abdul also spoke about the importance of having the infrastructure in place to support such an initiative. Doing things like getting rid of the school LMS, finding individual tools that did the things the school needed really well and focusing on key members of staff to use as exemplars and create some great courses. When it came time to rollout iPads all the students Essa already had a great collection of resources on iTunes U for students to use in the classroom instantly.
Abdul also told a great little story that relates to the importance of getting the infrastructure setup (which, though I no doubt will re-tell it wrong, I plan on stealing)
A man form a small village went into the city and saw a tap, when it was turned on water came out of it. This was amazing, the man could now easily supply water to his village without having to cart buckets back and forth from the well.
So, he spent a lot of money and purchased his own tap. Excited he returned to his village and connected the tap into a wall. He gathered everyone around to show them what would happen when he turned the tap on. Of course, when he did nothing happened. There was no plumbing, no water connection – with no infrastructure the tap was useless.