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Can the iPad reach children that other tech can't reach?

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Started by Karen Spencer 26 Apr 2011 8:48pm () Replies (28)

Hi all,

Loving the sharing of different apps:-)

You may have already seen this article on how iPads are opening up the world to some hard-to-reach students - iPadding into an Autistic World (NZ Educational Review) - but if not, it's worth a quick read.

When I see the way most children work so intuitively with the iPad, I can see it might offer real advantages, due to its size, portability, range of apps, and, of course, its haptic nature (love that word!)

My question is: have you seen evidence of the way the iPad may be engaging students in new ways, in your own classrooms and families? Can you share an example?


  • Barbara Wenn (View all users posts) 23 Nov 2012 12:20pm ()

    My cluster includes Goldfields Special School in Paeroa and the integration of iPads, touch-screen computers and IWBs, along with other assistive technologies and tools into learning have been huge motivators and see students who experience difficulties with motivation/engagement in traditional learning styles, to becoming engaged independent learners. We held a cluster sharing day yesterday and the students from Goldfields were fully involved. They shared their digital learning and became tutors for adults and students from other schools. Students from this school have been involved in making videos which were shared at a recent arts festival. You may view a couple of videos that support this evidence of effective use of technologies in their learning: 



  • Tania (View all users posts) 22 Nov 2012 5:37pm ()

    Indeed Jo - and that shows the VALUE of really critiquing apps and engaging students in this process.  In some of the schools where I am lucky enough to work, we have dedicated time for this and a process that sits alongside the learning intentions and success criteria.  It is especially important that the app allows us to SHARE our learning.   

  • Jo (View all users posts) 22 Nov 2012 12:14pm ()

    Is relevant engagement the key?  Similar to what you said about teachers knowing kids Tania.  We just had a conversation in class today about screwdrivers being a "tool" for fixing and ipads beign a "tool" for learning.  It may be fun to throw srewdrivers at a target but does any fixing happen?  The same with ipads and app games.  Does any learning happen?  Then one of the kids said, "What if the game meets our success criterea?"  I was like yes!!!! If apps are meeting learning needs of students and they are aware of their goals themselves then, along with engagement, they have relevant learning.  Surely that is moving to "Extend" on the Teaching and Learning section of the eLPF.

  • Tania (View all users posts) 22 Nov 2012 11:06am ()

    And an email from a teacher - 'I now know that true learning is creating rather than consuming.  You have helped us see that the iPad empowers students to create...'

  • Tania (View all users posts) 22 Nov 2012 9:24am ()

    Great questions to  ponder Karen.  I am seeing a HUGE difference in learning environments and still really thinking about what is making this difference - I am sure it is a combination of things - firstly, yes the iPads are the tool BUT the excitement I am seeing is that both the students and the teachers are engaged in learning and in exploring how the 'tool' can support them...  Teachers are thinking outside the box and allowing students opportunties for creativity.  An example of this is a teacher integrating the iPad into a math group - not by using math gaming apps BUT by letting the students get out there and take photos of things that measured less than 1cm, less than 5cm etc...  I am EXCITED by the conversations I hear happening in staffrooms about student learning, teachers sharing the learning that is happening - sharing what apps are proving successful to support creativity and collaboration - I have never seen that sharing happening over worksheetsCool  It's about teachers giving students opportunties to present their work in a variety of ways... it is not everyone handing in their work as a poster - the possibilities are endless.  And- I think you are right - I think teachers ARE familiar with students, strengths and interests and are really thinking about the individual learning styles in their class - the bonus of the iPad being it seems to meet the needs of visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners.  So YES again, I think you are right, teachers are using their professional expertise BUT I think the iPad is providing them with the perfect tool to engage, inspire and motivate students.  Now I am wondering if this all makes sense as I have written as listening in to other conversations in the staffroom!

  • Catriona Pene (View all users posts) 22 Nov 2012 8:38am ()

    Hey Colleen - I was sharing pic collage with the students in the new entrants room and we were using it instead of pen and paper for their writing. They were taking photos and then adding their own stories to them. Highly engaging.

    What I also observed were the animated learning converstions as children worked together to create a collage. Helping each other with spelling and reminding about capital letters for names was an integrl part of the learning.

  • Karen Spencer (View all users posts) 22 Nov 2012 8:01am ()

    I always enjoy hearing stories and looking at resources such as these...and this week our stories have me pondering a little.

    In terms of the difference that we are making for our learners, to what extent is it the iPad (or any tech) that is making the difference? How much of any successful learning experience is down to a teacher being really familiar with a students' strengths, passions and needs and then accurately addressing those needs using some form of appropriate technology as part of a wider learning experience (in this case, possibly an app).

    It is so tempting for us to talk about the difference an iPad can make...but I wonder.... are we missing out our own professional expertise in the way we talk about the learning design here? Can a student really be struggling/reluctant/disengaged....or is it that we are still trying to find the best learning experience for their needs?

    Thoughts, people? Join me in a ponder?

  • Colleen Ferguson (View all users posts) 22 Nov 2012 7:41am ()

    Wow, That must ave been so exciting for the learner as well as the teacher. I bet he will be back tomorrow wanting to write again. So exciting to hear of the reluctant writers /learners getting involved. What was the app that you were sharing? 

  • Catriona Pene (View all users posts) 21 Nov 2012 9:55pm ()

    Loving seeing all the examples of individualised ipad use to reach specific children.

    I really believe in the ability of ipads to turn the learning on for some of those children who are struggling in more traditional ways of learning.

    Today I introduced iPads for the first time to a brand new group of new entrants - their teacher stood by amazed as the 5 year olds quickly picked up how to use the app I was sharing and began to record their stories in words and photographs. One boy in particular was intent and working quickly on the task - the teacher said "Look at him go, he never gets anything, he is always off task and needs instructions repeating" - "Not today" I said - "He is your new tech angel." : )

  • Barbara Reid (View all users posts) 21 Nov 2012 5:37pm ()

    Apps used by a speech therapist to motivate students that aren't motivated by traditional tools. 

    5 Top Reasons to use an iPad

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