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January 26, 2012 / JaymeJ

iPads I to I: From Implementation to Instruction

This fall, Village School rolled out Phase 1 of our iPad program, supplying TK through Second Grade classrooms with small group sets of iPads. The goal of Phase 1 was to bring additional technology resources, for student use, into the lower school. Teachers select apps that provide skill reinforcement, additional practice, and/or concept extension of language arts, math, science, and social studies skills.

In our lower school classrooms, iPads are primarily used as independent centers/stations during small group rotations. From spelling words, to math skills, to social studies concepts students are hard at work “playing.” One teacher says, “The iPad is a great tool to help reinforce and practice skills. The children are enthusiastic and engaged.”

Kindergarten teachers love finding apps that directly relate to the Kindergarten Passport to Adventure. For example, the Ansel and Clair Adventures in Africa app that takes them right into Egypt. Students get to learn new vocabulary and facts all while playing games. My First Tangrams fits with kindergarten’s Asian travels. According to the teachers, “The students are begging to play and, in the process, practicing math skills!”

Kindergarten students agree. They say, “iPad games are fun. Tangrams are my favorite because you can match up shapes and guess what they are.” “I like the iPads because you can play games. Ansel and Clair is cool because you can discover things in Egypt and you take pictures,” adds another.

Teachers say the most challenging part is sifting through the thousands of apps to find the few that are meaningful, educational and appropriate for their classes. They recognize that the iPads are fun, but their use needs to have purpose and support the curriculum. To assist with this, select teachers are participating in an iPad consortium with other teachers from local independent schools. The consortium’s periodic meetings, Ning (an online website used to have discussions, post videos, and share files), and shared list of apps provide opportunities for conversations about implementation, app selection, and device management.

Phase 2, implemented this winter, added a small group set of iPads to the library, and single iPads in Science and Sixth Grade. Looking ahead, Phases 3 and 4 of our iPad program will expand the program to Third Grade as well as increase the number of devices in our lower school classrooms.

This is a reprint of an article written for our quarterly school newsletter.

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