Authentic use of the iPads.

When you mention iPads in the classroom you will invariably get many differing opinions.  Since there is very little research to back up the use of tablet computers in the classroom you will undoubtedly find many who are against their use at this time, saying that they are a fad.  This, in my opinion, is far from the truth.  Tablets hold a very important place in the

Grade 1 students use Google Earth to learn about “Gestures” on the iPad.

educational environment, especially in the Elementary school as the user interface is much more intuitive than that of the normal computer.  In this case, students are naturally more able to use these devices and can, in my experience, learn how to use them without much assistance from the teacher.  Of course, more research is needed in this area to back up  my claims.  However, I do see a future for tablets in schools and am interested in learning as much as I can.

Many people, when told that a classroom has iPads, immediately think that they are used as a skill and drill type of activity.  While this may be the case in many instances, the iPads are much more capable of more authentic activities where the students use it to actually create.

Recently, the Grade 1 teachers have begun collaborating with Mr.Doak in a way, which will help teachers and students make use of the iPads in their room in more meaningful ways.  It began when Mr. Doak discussed with the teachers that he would like to move away from bringing the Grade 1 students into the lab for “Tech” time and would like to focus on the fantastic tools they have in their room.  They decided that it would be a good idea to have a team teaching “model” lesson, where the technology tool was used, just like any other tool, when it was needed, not because it was “Tech” time.

To begin this process, Mr.Doak had to explain to the students why we were doing this.  When asked if they went to a special room to use a pencil during math time, they all laughed.  When asked if they were ready to write, but it wasn’t “paper” day, did they not write, they all giggled and said, “No!”  It was easy for them to understand that the iPad was just like these other learning tools and should be used like the others, when they, the students, needed them, not because it was “iPad” time.

Puppet Pals Screenshot
An application that allows students to create digital puppet shows.

The students have planned a puppet show centered on a celebration they celebrate at home.  They are made a detailed plan and created storyboards.  They then used regular materials to create backgrounds and puppets.  After all the materials were done they used the iPads to digitize their backgrounds and puppets.  Once digitized, they used Puppet Pals to create digital puppet shows that were saved as a movie file.  Everyone is excited about this authentic use of technology.

Some examples of these puppet shows can be seen below.

[hana-flv-player video=”” width=”400″ description=”” player=”5″ autoload=”true” autoplay=”false” loop=”false” autorewind=”true” /]

Thanks for reading

Mr. Doak


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