iPads in Education

Exploring the use of iPads and mobile devices in education.

Would You Buy iPads for Your Kindergarten Classes?

One public school district in Maine is spending $200,000 buying iPads for the exclusive use of their kindergarten classes. Advocates say it will increase learning. Detractors feel there's no evidence of that fact and that the money could be better spent elsewhere for children their age. What's your opinion?

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Opportunity often only knocks once. Yes! Ipads can be used to individualize instruction for each student. Kinder students would benefit by using the many applications to reinforce basic reading and math skills. The difficultly I see with IPad use in kinder is that if students have their learning acclerated already in kinder what will the established educational system do with too many students above grade level.

 

Ross

Kindergarteners would have a hard time being creative writing stories on any type of instrument because most of them do not have the written word skills necessary to write a story.  iPads are great for older kids!

Lynne Horiuchi said:
We just launched a pilot with 10 iPads in a 1st grade classroom and the students love it.  When the class is split they get 1:1 and other times itʻs 1:2.  Both scenarios work well bt they are not used every day (at least not yet)   We do see many benefits and opportunities for using the device in a primary classroom.  That being said, I donʻt believe you need to have a 1:1 in Kindergarten.  For them to be exposed to the technology and the opportunity to use it, yes,  1:1 exclusive use - not necessary.

Excellent topic of discussion.

I must say I agree with Tammi Brass on several points. 

I laso think while we cant discount the idea of the multi-touch ability and multiple users interacting (when I helped to integrate iPads into our Freshman Academy as an administrative tool - within 5 minutes of seeing our first one, there were three of us all working on it at the same time and it was very exciting) - we cant forget that many children younger than 5 are using touch screen technologies including the iPad (as well as parents smart phones) quite well and comfortably.

I also think that if we are really serious about getting students to use technology in school they way they do after hours, and in getting teachers to integrate technology into the classroom on a fundamental level (someting beyond using it as gravy) - then the iPad is a very intuitive and user friendly way to do that - its an easy mode of transport to take us from "teaching with technology" to "teaching through technology".

I'll be watching with a close eye to see what happens - I expect some very exciting and surprising things will unfold!



Keith Rosko said:
As a visual arts teacher, I think that there are enough really exciting apps on the iPad, that the worry of students not being able to be creative and writing stories at that age is very easily overcome.  They may not have the written word skills - but they do have very strong communication skills.
Remember that we teach reading visually (A is for Apple with a picture of an apple) and teach more complex storytelling visually as well (see Spot run - look at the picture to help decode the text).
Visual literacy and storytelling has been with us since man first realized he could make a mark on a cave wall with a burnt stick, and has become even more important in this age of digital literacy and what Dr. Jason Ohler calls the "communication through the media-collage".


Mary Sykes said:
Kindergarteners would have a hard time being creative writing stories on any type of instrument because most of them do not have the written word skills necessary to write a story.  iPads are great for older kids!

Lynne Horiuchi said:
We just launched a pilot with 10 iPads in a 1st grade classroom and the students love it.  When the class is split they get 1:1 and other times itʻs 1:2.  Both scenarios work well bt they are not used every day (at least not yet)   We do see many benefits and opportunities for using the device in a primary classroom.  That being said, I donʻt believe you need to have a 1:1 in Kindergarten.  For them to be exposed to the technology and the opportunity to use it, yes,  1:1 exclusive use - not necessary.

Yes yes yes!!!! In my experience small children love them, are engrossed in learning games and it is starting the preparation for life in the 21C. Also, of course, I would have them playing outside, with modelling kits, playdough, cooking etc. - balance in all things :-)

Carol

Our school has one computer for at least 8-10 kinder kids and they would use it rarely for some activities. My son could use my iPhone before he could use a mouse. The iPad is very easy to use for kids so I say, why not?
I guess a question might be is what happens to the kindys when they reach 1st grade and go back to crayon and paper?
I'll echo Keith Rosko and say that the iPad has most of its best uses in areas other then writing. Actually I'd say right now the iPad is at it's weakest there. The real hold up on the tech end is the find sensitivity and the lack of a fine point stylus.

If you want to have your mind blown put a piece of paper over your iPad screen and then do the finger gestures though the iPad. Thanks to the way the capacitive screen works normal printer paper or even notebook paper will let the touch pass clean though. This would allow students to transcribe writing or artwork done off iPad.

As to the question of money better spent else where I have to ask, spent on what? Glitter, glue, crayons, markers, erasers, and other expendables? I know from working with my school music teacher that the midi keyboards she has are 100 dollars each, in quick checks thats about as low as you can go before the quality is detrimental. Take 95 dollars off any iPad with GarageBand installed and that more then covers many diffent musical instruments. Even at a 1:1 laptop school GarageBand for the iPad blows away the Laptop(plus midi keyboard) verson.

What I should do is go though and do an item replacement list of all the objects the iPad associated Apps could replace in a classroom and deduct that from the iPads cost.

Ive been letting my personal iPad be "touched" by some of the kids I trust at my site and the power really is in the fact that it is touch. What has been most amusing is the 1st graders who I've been bumping into in the halls. Wbased computer based testing shortly and they have been asking me when they are coming to take it. My response in the past was to give them a date and day of the week (count the days with my fingers, and so on)... and often have it fly right over their heads. Now with my iPad I show them the Excel/Numbers spreadsheet of the scedual, then show them in the calander. Without any hesitation, each of three I've show so far, have reached up and poked a date 2 days after their test day and told me, "we have a field trip this day". One even went further and asked why I didn't have their field trip on my calendar... in retrospect I should have guided him though adding, but I wanted him to get back to his class.

I was taking with one of our kindergarten teachers today and she was remarking how still incredible it is to see her students get to things in the Mac OSX interface that she's never seen, or to seem them do file navigation faster then she does. This with only touchpad mouse and oversized keyboard.

I've made the point time and again that the iPad is just about the right size for K through 2nd to actually get their fingers in the correct spots on the keys for QWERT typing.

I fully support the idea of iPads at the Kindergarten level. Certainly far more the I support the idea of laptops in the same role. I do understand the teaching pedagogy and methodology needs, but as others have said we lack data so someone some where has to collect it. The hard thing to ignore is the level of student engagement with device. In working with students with laptops, if the computer slows down or becomes unresponsive (in the way computers do) the students tend to loose focus, or just out right disengage. So far this is where the iPad has been killer, immediate response and feedback to interaction. The side of that coin isn't just the iPad but the need for software that is equally up to the task of interacting with the students. Feedback is key.

As a tangent there was an NPR story a while back about a emotion reading camera system being tested with volunteer drivers. The system can analyze a drivers face for their emotional state, anger, happiness, and so forth. Add touch, sound, and I guess tap intensity, and you have a system that could read a students level of frustration and be programmed to respond in ways to reengage the student. Failing that, flag for teacher intervention before the student totally losses it and begins disrupting others. The iPad 2 isn't there but all the ingredients are basically out there now in one form or another.

It's not really the iPad itself. Its what it is used for.

I've designed hundreds of interfaces in the past 15 years (most recently many for the iPad). I can tell you right now, that it is only going to get easier and easier. If you are worried about your kindergardener being behind because they can't navigate an iPad UI-don't.

If your child has a problem reading or understanding something, and there is an app that can facilitate improvement, then use it. Regardless of their age. Its a tool.

I think Crayons and glitter are also good investments. They provide tangible materials to manipulate with no boot time. I see all these things as tools.

If a school district buys a bunch of iPads, I'm sure some kids can benefit from them. Just as some kids benefit from crayons, workbooks or having an aid.

I wouldn't criticize a school for giving kindergardeners iPads. But I would if they focused on them to the extent they created a classroom full of zombies staring at tablet screens.

Hi Sam,

 

Never really is the device, is it? Rather, how the tech will be infused in the classroom and used to inspire and deepen learning in developmentally appropriate ways seems to be more the matter.  I can absolutely see the benefit of iPads in kindergarten & would advocate for this where I work as well. Apart from being kid friendly, the # of apps that a caring and effective teacher could use with 5-years-olds is significant. From talking books (matching print to speech), interactive texts, speech and language apps, to being able to connect children with other children & family is significant.  The cameras alone make it a great tool for primary grades. Look forward to learning how the iPads are implemented. 

Our school site is waiting for fifty iPads, two Macbooks, and two carts to arrive. I have been pioneering iTouch and iPad use in my third grade classroom on my own dime. I have students evaluate iBooks and apps.

The instructional uses of the iPad are so diverse it becomes difficult to focus on one area. Our site is starting with iBooks only to allow for personalized libraries. The responsiveness of the iPad to individual needs make a great choice for any grade. The magnetic letter app is a good start for kinder. I agree with Alan, application and instructional use are paramount considerations.

 

 

I am a second grade teacher who is piloting a 1:1 iPad program in our district along with a kindergarten teacher. I know it seems a bit young but trust me, iPads and kindergarteners (or any lower elementary students) go together like peanut butter and jelly. iPads are hands down the perfect device for young learners. They are so easy to use and very manageable for the classroom teacher. If it is technology you are looking for then iPads are the way to go. If you are unsure about whether or not any technology is necessary at all, let me give you a very brief understanding of what happens in our classrooms.

Each and every student in our K and 2nd grade classrooms have learned many skills and strategies that they would not have otherwise had the opportunity to learn. They have become so responsible as a result of them taking the iPads home each and every night. They have developed problem solving skills, they have become differentiated learners (as opposed to me differentiating my teaching), and they have shown so much excitement and enthusiasm for learning. Our students have been allowed to reflect on their own learning more than anything else. The iPad has become such a wonderful resource in our classroom. It is incorporated into everything we do. My students are blogging, emailing, and reflecting and responding on their own work and the work of their peers. It is truly wonderful to see.

I certainly understand the skepticisms as I had many of the same thoughts before starting this process however, let me assure you that any worries I had have been alleviated. My students communicate with each other more than ever and I have had more one on one time with them because of the technology in our classroom. They receive plenty of the necessary pencil and paper practice but so much of the busy work in my classroom has been replaced with automatic self correcting apps. It is such a blessing for grading and it provides instant feedback to my students. I know it seems a bit scary, but believe me, iPads and kindergarteners (or any lower elementary students) fit perfectly together.

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