Kindergartners using iPads…to learn? Am I the only one that finds this idea a little crazy? After skimming the blog, iPad Adventures at Lower School I began to see the advantages of using technology in the classroom, even to help with things such as writing and spelling. This blog is a chronicle of a Kindergarten classroom in a Washington DC private school piloting iPads.
This school wrote a grant proposal for the use of 16 iPads saying that their use will help “to increase collaborative small group activities in Kindergarten that engage three learning modalities: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.” The iPads will be shared between the four kindergarten classrooms and will help individualize, meet, and enhance learning curricular goals.
Still not convinced? Neither was I until I started discovering the teacher advantages of this independent learning. In the Spell Blocks post, about the spell blocks with sight words app used for reinforcing letter-sound correspondence and word building skills proved to be beneficial to even lower-level readers. The use of iPads, especially this apps, is great for independent work time. The student is prompted by a computerized voice then provided feedback– all without the teacher needing to be present. Its a great way for students to get extra reinforcement with letter sounds even when the teacher is not available for one-on-one feedback. This app allowed for the difficulty level and whether extra letters are added to be customized to each child’s word building skills. The app is easy to use and is kid friendly. It is simple in the ways that it responds to students input and doesn’t make a big deal of incorrect answers. The blocks just bounce back to the bottom, similar to a correct word a quick burst of fireworks appears but does not distract students from moving forward. Students may need a little guided help from a teacher at first but will quickly get the hang of it and will be useful during an independent work time. Another similar post, titled “Spell Blocks is ‘good’ and ‘fun’!” built on this opportunity for further practice with spelling words. This app seems very easy to use and a great replacement for having letter tiles spewed all over the classroom floor!
Handwriting is a crucial skill to learn in kindergarten. I never thought it would be possible to learn handwriting with an iPad, but this blog post may have me convinced otherwise. What ever happened to paper and pencil learning? During the kindergarten weekly guided lesson the on iPad, the students used iWriteWords handwriting game to practice handwriting skills. With the app, if the student is writing the letter incorrectly it is corrected instantly, rather than the child doing an entire worksheet with pencil and paper, reinforcing the incorrect formation. iWriteWords allows for letter practice to come naturally with repeated practice. I don’t think this app can replace pencil and paper for learning letter formation, but it is a great enforcer of the correct formation of letters that is great for students who are struggling.
Lastly, I read a post titled Word Wizard which featured the Word Wizard- talking movable alphabet and spelling test that allows for a little more freedom as well as assessments. One of the options allows for students to build their own words using letter tiles, recognizing vowels as red tiles, and consonants as blue tiles whereas the other option verbally prompts you to spell a word using the tiles. This app allows for students to make mistakes and self correct. The app will not automatically correct the word like many other spelling apps available. This is also great for students recognizing word patterns as well as frequently used words.
Sidwell Friends School, where this blog is featured, is not the only school that is piloting iPads in the elementary school level at this time. Check out these blogs for further convincing of the use of iPads in early elementary education as well as how to implement them into your classroom:
This blog may not have me sold on the idea of using iPads in classrooms with students as young as kindergarten, but I do see many advantages that I plan on following. Who knows, by the time I am a teacher an iPad cart could replace the school computer lab! What are your opinions about using iPads at the elementary school levels? If you allowed iPads in your classroom, how would you utilize their features as well as keep the students on task? Think back to when you were in elementary school,how do you think you would or wouldn’t benefit from this form of learning? Comment on this page to let me know what you think about the use of iPads in the classroom!