Saturday, August 4, 2012

Journal 9-- "First Graders with iPads?"

This journal article is related to NETS 2 ("Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments").

Getting and Swainey describe how teachers can use iPads as a teaching tool in the classroom. In this article, an experiment at Hilltop Elementary in Minnesota is described. First graders, who were identified as being "at-risk" readers, utilized iPads as learning tools to teach, engage, and excite students to read. The teachers were surprised at how easy it was to manage proper use of iPads in the classroom. Several reading apps were used to get kids excited about reading. The experiment was successful, the "at-risk" students increased their reading levels and became excited about reading.

How did the teacher use iPads to improve reading proficiency levels for her first graders?
It's important to note that the teacher used the iPad as a tool and did not rely solely on the iPad to teach the first graders how to read. First, strict classroom management rules were spelled out so students understood what was expected of them in properly using the iPads. They were not allowed to walk around with them (iPads break very easily when dropped; I know--it's already happened to me once. This can be very expensive to fix!), and teacher aides were at each station to monitor proper iPad use. Students who could not follow the rules lost iPad priveleges. Students enjoyed using the iPads so much that they followed the rules very obediently; they didn't want to lose iPad time! The teacher then used Apps for sight-word recognition (K-3 Sight Words), fluency (Talking Tom), comprehension (Reading A-Z), and vocabulary (Kid Whiteboard). The teacher then engaged the students and checked for proficiency through group discussions and interactive communication lessons. For instance, one activity the first graders particularly enjoyed was recording themselves reading out loud (using a Voice Memos app) and then swapping iPads with a buddy. Then, they practiced following along with the reading while listening to their buddy's narrative.

How can I use iPads in my classroom to teach high school science?
I was a little skeptical before reading this article about allowing high school students to use iPads. How can I ensure proper use of iPads and make sure students are staying on-task? I don't need a class of experts at playing Angry Birds. But, if first-graders can do it, then so can high school students. By playing out very clear groundrules and expectations for the students before giving them access to the iPads, a lot of discipline issues can be avoided. In addition, use of the ­iPad is a privelege that can easily be lost if a student misuses it. There are many apps useful for teaching biology. I looked up a few and listed them below. The "Education" section of the apps for iPad on the Apple Store was fun to peruse. I would love the opportunity to try them out with my future students!­

Cell and Cell Structure--an app where students can learn about cells through interactive modules, games, and quizzes. 

Ted Talks--this app allows you to use all of the "Ted Talks", entertaining and informative lectures pertaining to education. More useful for the teacher than the student but a great way for a teacher to prepare for lessons.

Star Walk--An interactive app that allows you to identify constellations, stars, and planets very easily. Just point your iPad at the sky, and "Star Walk" will tell you what you're looking at!

Getting, S. and Swainey, K. (2012, August). First graders with 
ipads?. Retrieved from

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