Thursday, August 21, 2014

iPads in First Grade

iPads have come to stay at our site. This is the third year that I am at this site. So students going into third grade started using them regularly and creatively since first grade and so on if they were at this school. Yesterday was my first iPad lesson in first grade.

One of the many things we, educators are aware, is that just like classroom rules and procedures, expectations and norms with use of the devices needs to be set from day one. There can be no exception. Students must learn to use the devices appropriately and safely. They have the world at their fingertips which is fantastic, but in order that they use the devices efficiently from a young age, students must be taught the same explicitly.

The current first grade students used the iPads regularly in kindergarten with creation apps on a very regular basis. The apps they used included the camera, Doodlecast Pro, Book Creator and Toontastic. By the end of the year, I had been complimenting the teachers and students at their amazing work. The children were drawing so well on the iPads, it was unbelievable and their movements were really fluid. Since I do the cool lessons, the students are almost always delighted to have me in their classrooms (the same students in the second week of kindergarten had referred to me as "The iPad Lady"). 

The classroom teacher and I decided to coteach the norms so that the message was consistent from us. I asked the students to tell us the do's and don't's since they had been using the iPads for a year. The first question I asked them was, "What do you use the iPads in school for?" The very first hand to go up was a boy who hadn't exactly been there the entire year and is an English Language learner who spoke no English when he came here during kindergarten. His response was, "Learning". This validated the fact that once expectations are set, students will use those devices as learning tools and not treat them like toys. Thereafter, it was very smooth sailing with all the follow up questions and responses. We had an excellent discussion.

Not only was my day made, I got renewed energy to go deliver the message once again to the teachers and more students to forge ahead with their creativity and enthusiasm.

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