iPads and Kindergarten

Key ideas from the Jones reading

  • Play based learning to enhance language development (oral and communication)- a new take on traditional play with technology (“symbolic play”)
  • Review of Play school app (free) to develop oral language and reading comprehension to assist students to tell and re-tell a story in an engaging way and increase meaning making.
  • Key to using this app is teacher scaffolding and preparation to use it to its fullest potential.
  • Using iPad technology resonated with students who had experienced touch screen technology outside of the classroom and the association with Playschool meant most kids had prior knowledge or characters and themes.
  • Interactive app, easy to navigate and provided an exciting and different way of learning
  • Engaged learners meant that students worked together and made their own decisions.
  • Teachers need to focus on pre reading, during reading and after reading experiences to ensure that students are challenged, making connections and  creating their own meaningful stories (via their own comprehension of the texts) – this will increase literacy skills.
  • Students learnt to navigate an iPad and also see their work, reflect on their learning and show other students what they had created.
  • “This tablet technology helped the teacher to scaffold literacy learning and can be a powerful medium for meaning-making” (Jones, 2012, p. 36)

 

Jones, M. (2012), ipads and kindergarten- students literacy development, SCAN, 31(4), 31-40.

 

How you might use this app or a similar one to develop an aspect of literacy ( could be understanding how texts work, viewing skills, speaking and listening etc.) in the classroom, as well as build technology skills for your students.

  • The play school art app would be a great classroom tool to help students to construct a story. Visually they could use the iPad to explore images that would help to bring the content to life (retell the story). Students would work together, speaking and listening, to create their storyboard and bring the story to life. Exploration of the construct of a story (such as needing a beginning, a middle and an end) as well as exploring characters and settings would enable students to utilise comprehension skills.
  • In our exploration of the app we constructed our own simple story, using the background and characters provided, adding our voices in order to create a fluid story with a clear beginning, middle and end. As the characters and settings are provided it would mean students could focus on story creation and grammatical features not on creating all characters and settings themselves. Their focus would be on visually and orally creating a new story not on their computer or drawing skills.

 

Toontastic app – and write a short review of it in terms what is does, how easy or hard it is to use and what aspects you could use it for in your classroom.

Hard or easy:

Easy to navigate but limited by the tools you have access to on the free version. Could be hard to use for younger kids as it would be creatively restrictive.

Aspects you could use in classroom:

  • Overview of story content flow simple (step by step  – setup, conflict, challenge, climax and resolution), this would help students to ensure their story flowed well and they focused on meaning making and grammatical features.
  • Being able to story with your own voice would mean students could engage more closely with their story
  • Emoticons for particular parts of the story means students will remain on task with the content they add to that section.
  • Students are able to get into the story via adding their photos or audio, which would increase engagement and peer participation.
  • A great activity to construct a pair lesson, where each could build on the work of the other student to create a fluid story at the end. We worked on a section each to build an entire story which worked together.

https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/toontastic/id404693282?mt=8

 

 

 

IWB’s – the low down!

Reflect on the reading – what seems to be the most important aspect of using an IWB that will make it a useful classroom tool for learning?

The teacher seems to be the most important aspect of using an IWB. The reading highlighted to me the need for the teacher to be able to adapt their pedagogical style and spend the time needed to plan lessons using the IWB. The teacher must ensure that the technology is being used to its full potential and that the content is relevant to all students, and their own individual learning style. There is a danger with IWBs that they become a vehicle for teacher led classroom learning, however this article, demonstrate that if the teacher is properly trained and uses the research correctly they will be able to captivate and motivate their students to ensure engaged higher level learning occurs. The article clearly demonstrates that content needs to be clear and concise, and whilst bells and whistles help to capture students attention they must not detract from the learning element of using technology.

The fact that “good teaching remains good teaching with or without the technology” (Higgins, Beachamp & Miller, 2007, p. 217) resonated strongly with me. The article shows that  we should view IWBs as “the technology (that) might enhance the pedagogy only if the teachers and pupils engaged with it and understood its potential in such a way that the technology is not seen as an end in itself but as another pedagogical means to achieve teaching and learning goals” (Higgins et al, 2007 p. 217).

Therefore from the reading I feel that the most important aspect that will make IWBs a useful tool for classroom learning is the teacher. The teacher must spend time in preparation, the teacher needs solid technological knowledge, the teacher must be willing to include all pupils to ensure open dialogue in the classroom, and finally the teacher must recognise that inclusion of all learners via hands-on interaction will encourage deeper understanding and promote higher thinking for all. There is potential for increasing “pupil participation and reinforce learning” (Higgins et al, 2007 p. 218) through IWB’s. Of course, IWBs are costly tools to include in all classrooms, however, if we as teachers are lucky enough to be able to utilise them in our classroom, it is imperative that we do the technology justice (to aid our new multi- modal learners) and adapt our pedagogy to use IWB’s effectively.

References:

Higgins, S., G. Beauchamp, and D. Miller (2007), Reviewing the literature on interactive whiteboards, Learning, Media and technology, 32(3), 213-225.