Introducing iPads with Preps

So your school has rolled out a 1 to 1 program. Now what? Aaron Davis explores how using these resources effectively is the next challenge facing teachers.

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.

Read more posts from Aaron Davis on his blog Read Write Respond.

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Aaron Davis