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The benefits of using iPads to support language learning and literacy

By Jason Ruakere Comments (4)

Tēnā koutou katoa!

Over the last two weeks we have been tracing the journey of Taranaki maunga, learning Te Reo Māori and practical skills such as making a fire from scratch and how to tie knots.

Literacy learning

After sharing a tradition about Taranaki maunga I invited the boys to retell the story using an app of their choice. Our focus was on spelling, sequencing events and using descriptive language.

Manawairua and Daymon selected Tellegami, Dane and Chaz chose Educreations and Tuawaerenga wrote his story with the Strip Designer comic app.

Using the apps for writing has engaged the students and supported them with organising and summarising their ideas. Being able to illustrate their legends has encouraged creativity and deepened their understanding of the relationship between visual and written language. Because their work is published on the group’s blog, students have focused on writing with consideration of their audience.

This is an example of Tuawaerenga’s story using Strip Designer

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Recording and revisiting learning

I introduced Te Reo Māori with cuisenaire rods (rākau) and then the boys selected various iPad apps to record their learning. The boys chose Educreations, Book Creator and Bitsboard.

The ipad is an effective tool for learning languages. The boys are able to revisit the lesson as many times as they wish at home. You can see in this example by Dane, the voice recording function (available in most apps) helps to develop fluency and correct pronunciation. The games offered in some apps like Bitsboard are particularly valuable for learning new vocabulary and phrases.

The second part of yesterday’s lesson was learning about how to make fire. By watching YouTube examples the boys were able to understand the steps involved in learning this new skill. The boys then explained the process for their classmates by creating their own video. This was a real highlight for the boys. Please visit our blog here to see more.

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Materials for making fire

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The boys trialing their fire making equipment

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Daymon trialing their bow drill
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Chaz with their finished bow


  • Judith Smallbone

    I have a group of boys who would love these learning experiences! I like the youtube video explaining to others how to... 


  • Ed Strafford

    I used to be a boy (age put an end to that)

    Based on this unit, I would have LOVED to have been in your class :-)

  • Vanitha Govini

    Kia ora Jason, Thanks for sharing your learning journey and students' work with us.Lots of ideas!

  • Jason Ruakere

    Kia ora Judith, Ed and Vanitha,

    Thank you for the awesome feedback. The boys love the opportunity to learn in this way and so do I! It reminds me of learning the way it used to be - learning by doing! Hopefully this is where things will head in the near future in schools with the integration of technologies. Learning is no longer restricted to the four walls of a classroom or even the school gates!

    Ngā mihi nui,


Beyond the Classroom

Beyond the Classroom

Beyond the classroom - Connecting school to the wider community with and about technologies.