Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The iPad as an expressive tool

Last week, I was interviewing a fifth grade parent (J) about her take on the 1:1 iPad program in fifth grade at our site, why she/her daughter liked it, etc. She loves the program and went to state the reasons why, etc. After I had stopped recording, she went to state to me that she loved how the iPad allowed her daughter to express herself in different ways and be creative. That was a very powerful statement. When the iPad is used as an effective tool, students can produce some wonderful creations.

This afternoon, I was working with a kindergarten teacher, going through some recent student work where the students are creating an "All About Me" book on the iPad. This teacher used to make the book in the traditional way where the children made it on paper and pencil. This year they are using the iPads for the book, drawing and recording their voices with the books. What a wonderful keepsake for the families!

While reviewing a particular child's work where he has really used his words to talk and talked about not just the pieces on his storyboard but gone on to tell us stories and a great deal of description, J's statement about children being able to express themselves came out strong and clear.

This particular child does not have attention at home, does not have the kind of support that others do, but does have the same level of skills and creativity. So, not only did he do what was asked of him, he went on to do much more. He created and he expressed because he found an imaginary audience who would listen to whatever it is he has to say (and he has a great deal to say).

I complimented this teacher because this teacher has provided a safety net and a forum where the children are motivated and feel safe to express themselves without fearing being right or wrong.

This only validated what is so crucial in integrating technology. Do it right, do it meaningfully, do it in a way that allows students to be creative, do it so that it adds value to the product, pay attention to the process, not just the final product and finally, "let it go".

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