Introducing iPads with Preps

creative commons licensed (BY-NC-SA) flickr photo by mrkrndvs: http://flickr.com/photos/aaron_davis/16533930637

Introducing technology has its challenges. Although technology has been a part of who we are since cave men started painting pictures on walls, adding something new and seemingly different is often confronting to the status quo and how we think things should be.

My school recently purchased a class set of iPads, as well as one for each of the teachers. This was a bold move considering up until now we had been largely dependent on banks of netbooks. The question though is where to start. I am well aware of the need to build the confidence of staff long before you introduce them into the classroom. A point made by Richard Lambert. My question then is where should staff start. I have reflected on iPads in education before, but got wondering where do we start in the context of a Prep classroom. So I put out the call out to a few teachers I knew had experience with iPads in the Early Years.

These are the responses I got:

  • Creating an eBook – Bec Spink made the suggestion of creating a book using Book Creator and then publish it to iTunes. When I got told that we were getting iPads, this was the first thing that I thought of. I have commented on this before in regards to publishing for an authentic audience.
  • Drawing – Jenny Ashby suggested drawing with the iPads. Her first idea was to use Book Creator to take a selfie and trace the outline. Then remove the original image and recording a narrative. While her second idea was using Explain Everything to record and replay to reflect.
  • Taking Pictures – Richard Wells pointed out that simply using the camera is fun enough. I remember being told once about a school that gets their Prep students to simply go around and take pictures of objects beginning with a specific letter.
  • Recording Stories – Going beyond Jenny Ashby’s selfie stories, Michelle Meracis suggested using Adobe Voice to record social stories. I love Adobe Voice and have used it from everything to retelling a story to work on fluency to providing a guide how to do something. I have also used it with minimal support with my own three year old.
  • Rotation Station – Melissa Dunn spoke about literacy and numeracy rotations. This could be creating something, but it could also involve exploring. I love Toca Boca and the open possibilities that their applications provide.
  • Develop a Digital Licence – Sam Irwin suggested getting parents involved through the creating an iPad licence for students (and staff?) associated with big celebrations once achieved.
  • Projecting the iPad – Going beyond using Apple TV, Neil Lavitt suggested using either Air Server or Reflector to show what is on the iPads on the a bigger screen via a PC.
  • Organising the iPads – Michelle Meracis made the suggestion of replacing the background with a number, while Tony Richards suggested giving them animal names as this is more personal.
  • Sharing Information – There were a few ideas suggested for sharing information from devices. Jenny Ashby spoke about setting up a class Dropbox account, while Melissa Dunn suggested Showbie.

 

I know that there are issues with ‘quick wins‘, something pointed out by Bec Spink. I understand that to bring change you need more than a few quick wins to drive change. For example, Alan Thwaites has suggested that devices and how we use them are just another point of differentiation in the classroom. While Eric Jenson has put forward the argument that the only people you need to convince are students. For me, it starts with why. However, here are at least a few places to start and gather momentum.


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Aaron Davis

I am an Australian educator supporting schools with the integration of technology and pedagogical innovation. I have an interest in how together we can work to make a better world.

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One thought on “Introducing iPads with Preps”

  1. G’Day Aaron.

    I have heard and seen of many schools show a lot of reluctance when using something such as an iPad device with young students, and mostly in Prep. Even the notion of 1:1 with smaller students is a idea that does not go down overly well. I love the fact that this post has sought expert feedback from ‘those in the know’ and who have tried and tested 1:1, iPad devices and effective technology integration with Prep students. One resource that I have used is the “Contemporary (Digital) Literacy Practices of Preps” project findings document. This project, commissioned by DET in 2011 asked a number of schools investigate how technology could support literacy with Prep students. Sam Irwin and I were part of this and it was a great project to be involved in. Head to: https://fuse.education.vic.gov.au/content/5ce2e030-20bf-4b5f-87ee-6c02da556855/literacypracpreps.pdf
    to access the report or further more search for in FUSE the Learning Resource ID (KY8WDK) for the interactive eBook showing what exactly schools did as part of this. Some excellent ideas!

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