Last year I had the pleasure of visiting Dainfern College near Johannesburg. I was there to see how the school embraced and rolled out technology – both mobile devices and computers. I found that Dainfern and Elkanah share many similarities in feel, ethos and technology integration. It was a most enjoyable morning and I was made to feel very welcome by Anthony Egbers, Director of Technology at Dainfern College.
One of the interesting things I saw at Dainfern was their iFrame Project. I was so taken by the idea, that I asked whether they would mind if I could take the idea home to our school. Anthony was most accommodating – he even sent one of their frames home with me!
What is the iFrame Project? Our pupils use shared iPads in Grade 2 and Grade 3. From Grade 4 they are required to have their own iPads. Before the pupils were allowed to bring their iPads to school at the beginning of this year, they had to take care of a mock iPad for a period of four weeks. Each Grade 4 pupil was allocated a small picture frame (with glass). This is an iFrame. Inside the frame are some guidelines for looking after the iFrame, including rules for handling and storage at school and “charging” at night! The idea behind the programme is to train our Grade 4s in good iPad care, management and responsibility and to instil healthy habits.
Yesterday our iFrame programme came to an end and the Grade 4s were allowed to bring their iPads to school for the first time. What excitement there was! Please read these lovely blog posts by our principal, Mr Arthur Preston, and new Grade 4 teacher, Mr Craig Bellwood. They summed up the buzz of the day very eloquently!
Feedback from both staff and students has been that this was a very worthwhile programme, and our parents have played along very well too. We will make a few adjustments here and there – for one, we will shorten the timeframe a little. Four weeks was a tad too long for everyone. The project will be followed by Digital Passport, an interactive, fun, game based method of teaching the basics of digital citizenship. It consists of five modules: Communication, Privacy, Cyberbullying, Searching and Creative Credit. On completion of all five modules, the pupils will each receive a certificate.
On the whole this turned out to be a fun and positive way to introduce student-owned iPads to our campus! Thank you again to Anthony Egbers for his willingness to share this lovely idea.