By Leona Bunting, University of Gothenburg

As part of the ongoing evaluation of the apps and appropriation study we went out to Västergård School to observe how teachers were working with the iRead project technologies ‘in the wild’. 

iRead take boat ride to nearby school, SwedenWe visited Västergårdsskolan on 24th January. It was a chilly morning as we took the ferry out to the small island in the Gothenburg archipelago where the school is located. We were met there by Anna, an experienced class teacher who teaches English in several year group classes across the school.

When we arrived, the students were already paired up. Anna explained that they were trialling a mentoring experiment, where the year 6 students were mentoring the year 3s. We walked around and watched as the younger students played the Navigo games in adaptive mode with the help of the older students.

two children work at a table with one tablet computer

It was very interesting to see how the year 6s very much assumed the role of tutor. They asked the younger students questions like:

“So what does this word mean?” “Do you know it? Very good!”

This particular idea, to have older students helping younger ones who are less familiar with playing the games, was generated by teachers at the school. From the beginning they were very interested in participating in the project and were curious about what the iRead project could bring to the classroom. They therefore strived to incorporate the apps in the teaching of as many students as possible.

The next lesson was spent using the Amigo reader. The students were tasked with reading a text within the reader, then answering questions on a worksheet provided by the teacher. They needed to summarise the text and also write down words that were new to them then translate them into Swedish. Following this, they were asked to make sentences using two of the new words they had encountered. 

Seeing the way the students interacted around the Navigo game and worked with the Amigo reader was incredibly interesting. It was exciting to experience how teachers had invented such pedagogically novel and creative and ways to use the apps!

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