Thanks to Hannah and David, today we went through the basics of the LearnPad and some of the apps that come bundled with the tablet. We moved swiftly through the process as our specialised teachers were quick to catch on and keen and eager to try out the possibilities offered by the tablet and its software. Hannah and the team had to be patient with each other as the support staff were sometimes speeding ahead with questions that would be answered in our next training session.
During the training I observed enthusiasm, energy, excitement, interest but at times some scepticism as well. Is it our Maltese character to find fault in any project that is launched? Whatever the reason, I would like to draw the attention of all those who are undergoing this initial training programme as trainers for our colleagues. We must be careful to avoid running before we can walk steadily. Let’s start with a good crawl if that is necessary. This step may be skipped, if we find that our colleagues are strong enough to walk. But let us not run before we stand firm, solid and safe enough on our feet. The principle behind the training programme is quite simple: let’s introduce you the class teacher, whatever your level of digital competence, to a few apps that will surely help you in your everyday classroom activities. We will help you to get confident with the apps and progressively introducing new apps that you or your learners may find to be useful in your work.
Another point that I would like to get across to all who may be reading this is that the tablet’s feel is going to be different from what our learners are accustomed to. The flicking, touch and other gestures are the same as for any other tablet but the environment is meant to give the idea that our tablet is not a toy. During the pilot project, participating teachers remarked that it was a challenge to help the students see the tablet as an educational tool rather than another game gadget. The LearnPad environment is going to help address this difficulty. You as teacher will initially have total control of the tablet which you can let go of, as you get more comfortable with the device. More control can be given to the students as you progressively climb the ladder of your digital competency. That will be totally in your hands and you will be able to regain control at any time you feel uncomfortable.