I came across a Tweat today of an article that was written in April of 2011 about the use of iPads in a Kindergarten classroom. Kindergarten iPads: Should new technologies be used to teach children their ABCs? is an article that I find has a bit of a negative tone to it. The author seems to criticize the decision made to use iPads in such a young classroom. At the end of the article, there was only one reply to this post so I clicked on it thinking that it would possibly give me another view point on the usage of iPads in a classroom. This second article, Maine Schools to Give Ipads to Kindergarteners. But will they know what to do with them? seemed even more negative to me. At one point, the author of this article called the children “snot-nosed sponges”. I then Googled the idea of iPads in the classroom and actually found some articles that seemed to be supportive of the idea.
The first article that I found iPads in Kindergarten? YES! was a well written article that explained how this teacher uses iPads in her classroom. After reading her blog post, I thought a little bit about how I could use this in my own classroom and it certainly seems quite feasible. Now I know that cost if often a concern, but I could easily see 4 or 5 iPads being very beneficial in a Kindergarten classroom. You would be able to use them during Centre time and have a rotation of the students through this centre. The time spent on the iPads would be monitored by the teacher, but similar to what was mentioned in the article, I have found that young children don’t want to loose their privileges so they have a tendency to do exactly what they were told to do. Therefore, if they were instructed to use the math app only, they would more than likely remain on the app.
Now of course it would be nice to have an iPad for each student, especially for math and writing centres. I could only imagine the time that would save in a day if I didn’t have to hand out manipulatives to 21 kids, but rather hand out 21 iPads and then ask them all to chose the same app. By simply holding up their iPad, I would be able to verify that everyone was at the correct place and we could begin our lesson. The children would be able to work on patterns, number concepts, 3-Dimensional shapes, etc and that is simply in math class. Of course, using an iPad would not eliminate the need for hands-on work also. I believe that it would still be beneficial for many students to actually play around with different objects in order to create different patterns, for example, as well.
After having thought about the usefulness of an iPad in the classroom, one does leap to the next logical question, which is how many apps are there available and how expensive are they? On the same blog as the article about positive use of the iPad in the classroom, their was a blog posting about the Best Apps for Education. Now I imagine that this is only a small glimpse into the apps that are available for younger children, however it does give you an idea about how useful a tool like this could be.
Does anyone currently use iPads in the classroom? And if you do (or you use them with your young children at home), have you found any good apps that you would recommend?