As I mentioned in my previous post, we’re very lucky to have Google Apps for Education hosted for us on edubuzz.org by our LA. It’s fab, however one issue with it is that there is no focal point for all the various tools. There’s no ‘homepage’ which aggregates all your various content and apps. This has frustrated me for a while, but I think it’s going to become a bigger issue in the future as we move towards open Wifi and bring your own device. I’ve therefore been keen to find a solution and when I heard about AirHead I thought we might just have found one.
Since the start of the session we’ve been working with AirHead to get it installed with edubuzz.org so that we could give it a try and we got it all sorted just before the Christmas hols. I was excited therefore this morning to get a class onto it – my S1 Science class. I thought it would be good to share some reflections on this first proper encounter of having students on AirHead…
- Firstly I was surprised how readily they agreed with me that a lack of a ‘home’ was a problem. They agreed that it would be good to have a one-stop shop which gave you access to all of your online tools – both learning and social/personal.
- They loved being able to create their own LaunchPads and customising the background etc. This was a big plus for them. I was amazed by how quickly they were creating their own tiles for their LaunchPads.
- They were amazed at the ‘live’ nature of the FlightDecks. They liked being able to see their emails without having to open Gmail and having the school Daily Notices twitter feed right there also. The Calendar widget had them reaching for their phones and getting their school edubuzz accounts set up on them to help them manage their homeworks.
- They also were very keen to begin using AirHead on their phones through the browser and liked that it synchronised with the desktop version. They were a bit frustrated with the way that if you try to scroll on a launchpad on your phone it has a tendency to rearrange the tiles instead.
Overall, they were remarkably enthused by AirHead, they felt it was solving a problem they already face and they were able to begin using it and making it their own very quickly and with minimal support and guidance from me.
Next week I’m planning on showing it to the rest of the staff and recruiting a team to begin trying it out to support learning and teaching.