iPad Tips: Getting Started Week One
One question I get asked a lot about the iPad is how to I get started and how do I teach my kids apps. I will try to explain my process in this post. It is important to note that I only have 3 iPads in my classroom. If we had a 1-to-1 classroom this might look a little different.
What apps to start with: As with ANY tool in Kindergarten I feel it is important that the kids have a chance to play before being asked to complete an assignment. The iPad is no different so I start my kids off with Felt Board and My Play Home. My Play Home is a virtual home living center and felt board is a virtual felt board where the pieces actually stick and don’t get lost. Both of these apps are great for letting the kids explore and have fun while also teaching them about using the device and working together. I also recommend almost any app by Toca Boca. You can find my complete list of apps for K here.
Teaching Apps: I introduce many of the apps we use each morning as the kids arrive at school, you can read about that process here. I also talk about using the bottom tray so the kids know what apps are “open” each week. The more important apps my kids use, the ones for creating and producing, are introduced during my teaching time. I use those apps (Popplet, Educreations, Skitch, Explain Everything) during my teaching and the kids learn by watching. When I think they are ready then those apps are introduced into centers for them to use as well.
iPad Center: Since I have three iPads they are almost always used in Literacy and Math stations. Each week I decide which apps will be used for each device. The kids can quickly tell what apps to use by checking the bottom tray on each iPad. In my room the iPads are almost always used in a collaborative setting (2 per device) when used for stations. The times they are not being used in stations I try to have kids work independently with them as much as possible to target specific skills. This happens during quiet time, reading time, snack, tutoring, etc.
Be Brave: I am talking to you the teacher. I hear a lot about teachers waiting until the kids are “ready” to use the iPad but really I think this is about the teacher being ready. Set up a few guidelines and let them go. Often I learn more about how I want to use an app by watching the kids interact with it than planning on my own. As far as kids treating the iPad with respect the only thing I tell them is that the iPad is important to me and that it can break. That seems to be enough for most kids to be careful. One day a kid will break an iPad in my room (and yours.) Say that out loud, take a deep breath and let them be kids.
Have some great tips for others? Please share in the comments.