Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Perspective and Uses of iPads in Mrs. Willer's Kindergarten Classroom;)

Mrs. Willers, one of our Kindergarten teachers, gave this perspective to a school that came her last week for a visit:)

iPad App: Seesaw 
This is the first year that we have been using Seesaw, and I absolutely love it! It can be challenging to find great technology that is user friendly for primary grades, but Seesaw has really changed that for us! There are so many ways to implement this into your classroom, and I love the connection it builds between home and school. The app is easy to use for our students, and easy to manage as a teacher- simply watch then approve any students’ completed project or journal, and instantly it is sent to the family and archived. This app is also helping me go paperless for Daily 5- I can provide my students with hands-on activities and Seesaw keeps them accountable for staying on task and doing their best with each activity. 

Student samples using Seesaw with D5 and writing: 

Other favorite apps for K: 
Reading Raven 1 & 2
Reading Island Adventure
Magnetic ABC’s- use for a variety of classroom activities vs. white boards or paper
Animal Math
Phonics (Backyard Adventures)
Short Vowels

iPads and SMART
If you are currently using SMART notebook, there is a new update that allows for iPads to replace the older PRS (Personal Response) clickers. Teachers can create activities and quizzes in SMART notebook that students can access from their iPads. Each student can log-in, take the quiz, and results are sent to the teacher. 

Thoughts and Opinions on iPad use in K: 
I appreciate being 1-1 with students and devices for the ease of doing whole-group activities. I have found that teaching new apps, beginning projects for the 1st time, and doing assessments such as STAR are best whole-group. Many of the apps we have found are self-paced and student progress is recorded, but only 1 “player” or “account” is allowed. If were were sharing devices, you may have a higher student unlocking or passing higher levels, and the lower student playing those levels even when they haven’t mastered the beginning skills of that game. If you decide to go 1-1 with devices, please also be aware of how much iPad time is developmentally appropriate for primary students. Although we do use our devices daily, we do it in small increments, and likely for only 30-45 total minutes a day. 
Another consideration for financial cost is the continuous expense of iPad apps. Each year between the system updates and free apps becoming paid apps, our list of working, paid apps changes. Each year we lose apps that we have loved, and finding replacements that are free are rare. I also feel like website subscriptions such as IXL or Starfall are replacing our app requests. There are more and more great websites out there that track student progress and are customizable, and may be more reliable long term than apps. 

I hope this is helpful - Happy Tuesday all
Mrs I:)

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