A lot has happened in the past 3 months. The iPads are now being used in a number of different ways around the infant school. Each year level is slowly finding appropriate ways to use them as a great learning tool to authenticate lessons. Below I have summarized some of the great things that have happened. Using the devices in a shared manner are slowly showing us that we need to think creatively about their use. It is also imperative that we keep clearing the iPads to allow space for other grades to use them.
The Nursery children (our 3 and 4 year olds) were having a great time exploring castles, kings and queens. They decided that the role play areas in the classrooms needed an added extra. Every great castle has pictures hanging of past Kings and Queens. My teaching assistant and I saw this as a great opportunity to introduce the app ‘YouDoodle’. We introduced the children to taking photo of each other sitting on their throne. Then, using the app children were able to use the tools to add crowns, jewels and anything else they thought would enhance their photo. This activity also helped us see a new issue with shared devices, we don’t have air printers, so how do we get the photos off. Our technicians were able to set up a shared email account in outlook that children could send to and the teachers could access to print them off. Children used traditional painting methods to create photo frames and the were hung up. The children were engaged and after being shown once were able to independently use the app.
Reception children (our 4 and 5 year olds) have been using the Toca Boca series of apps in their role play areas. We have seen the Toca store in use as well as Toca Monsters. They have loved having the ipads in the role play area and have been able to manage traditional role play with new technologies added in. Conversations have been engaging and children were much more proactive with using money to purchase items. Some teachers have been using maths 3-6 as an assessment tool. It has been interesting for teachers to watch how the children engage with the devices whilst carrying out traditional maths concepts.
Year 1 have been exploring a number of different apps. During term 2 the children were exploring fairytales and traditional stories. The Popplet app was great for brainstorming language appropriate to character descriptions. The maps were emailed and printed off to allow the children to have access to the language for future use. They also had fun using the puppet pals app to create their own fairytale stories. Teachers were able to view these short shows and discuss elements of story writing, such as beginning, middle and endings to stories. Children used these to then prepare them for writing their own story using the traditional method of pen and paper. Our most recent adventure with the year 1’s has been to use the book creator app for non-fiction books. The children have used the ipads to find photos of their plant, they have had 3 questions the wanted answered and spent time searching using both traditional (books) and modern (search engines) to find the answers. Our librarian took children through the elements of a non fiction book and children have begun using the app to add their titles, sub-headings, photos and information into a book. These can be emailed off as a PDF and printed off or saved into the ibooks app on the device.
Year 2 have used more game based apps to enhance maths and literacy lessons. Apps such as Ninja time, phonics forest and barefoot atlas have all enhanced the children’s experiences with the devices and the subject area. One of our year 2 teachers has worked hard on developing 2 apps with the grade has also been exploring.
So, where to from here. The next step will be to introduce the SAMR model of app selection to the staff. Run parent workshops and offer professional development to our 53 teaching assistance. We have come a long way in 6 months and I am super excited about the road ahead.