S. Lähdesmäki

University of Jyväskylä (FINLAND)
The world of knowledge and communication has changed since smart phones and tablets have become tools available for everybody. Children are already online during their free time, but at school devices such as smart phones and tablets are not in everyday learning use. Today’s visions for schools in the future are strongly focused on developing learning environments and learning methods that emphasize the role of ICT. The visions are already here but we are dependent on teachers and their ICT skills and knowledge to turn that vision into a reality in schools every day. Teachers play a key role in changing the way pupils learn. It is crucial to educate teachers to become experts in ICT-skills and ensure they are motivated to use new technology in learning. But how do we educate teachers in this rapidly changing world of ICT? Teachers are not always able to participate in different kinds of conferences neither do they have access to new devices in every school. It is crucial to develop new strategies to reach teachers in their own comfort zone and find ways to make it easy to adopt both new learning methods as well as new devices. In the ITC-strategy of Kokkola comprehensive school it is defined that each school should have their own ICT-pedagogical support person. The pedagogy behind taking tablets as learning tools lies in co-operative and contextual learning styles. In our region we executed a project with the goal of bringing both the support and the device to the teacher in the classroom to make it as easy as possible to become familiar with a new device as a learning tool. For that reason the structure of this project was built on tablet pedagogy, rather than simply learning learning how to use the device. The project of pedagogical ICT support person was carried out in the municipality of Central Ostrobothnia in Finland 2013-2014 and was funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture. In this article I will introduce the model of pedagogical ITC support person and the importance of this support for teachers when taking new devices such as tablets, and in this case iPads, as learning tools in the classroom. The project was executed as action research, where the researcher was the pedagogical and technical support person and worked in the field for 8 weeks. From the teachers involved seven participated in the enquiry of the experiences from this project. In this article I will explain the background of the pedagogical point of view in using tablets as learning tools and discuss the roles of the teachers, the support person and how this co-operation helped teachers to take an active role in developing their ICT-skills during the day they had the pedagogical ICT support person working with them in their class.