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i-Pads: Our Journey Begins..

Background content:

Karangahake School caters for years 0-8 students at our small, rural school. This year our school-wide focus is on Inquiry and incorporating more IT tools to improve learning outcomes for our students.

Aims and Purpose:

To explore interactive ways that will assist our students to be more self-motivated, involved and independent in the inquiry process as they work towards extending their literacy and research skills.

Method, interventions and actions:

We are an Apple school looking at relevant, modern tools that will further encourage and improve ICT skills in the learning process. To date we have purchased 2 i-Pads and are in the early stage of integrating these in learning programmes (literacy, inquiry, math). They had been initially introduced to support and extend learning in the senior room (independent/buddy) using the following tools: free apps/ games (try before we buy so that costs can be reduced if uploaded apps are not relevant/purposeful), worksheets (http://worksheetplace.com)and camera use. The junior students (initially managed with senior buddy assistance) are using the i-Pads’ video camera to record, then students analyze using set criteria on a personal skill based rubric, to improve their oral reading skills. E.g: volume, pace, expression, fluency. Teacher modeled the process to class, used child model and class reflected on the modeling against the rubric. Junior Reading using i-Pad

Key Results:

Both students and teachers find the i-Pads make learning fun and are quicker/easier to access than computers that take more time to activate where students need to learn efficient saving and retrieval practices.  i-Pads initial set up has been done by teachers rather than the need to employ technicians for computer set-ups. Students are very keen and capable when they are the most relevant tools for the task

  • Boys are willingly reading uploaded stories on the i-Pads Senior Boys Reading
  • Co-operating skills more evident with using the i-pads – huddling around engaging, discussing, sharing, supporting each other – screen very clear so everyone can view clearly
  • Portability – taking photos outside – bigger screen than digital camera – group work able to leave the room
  • Fast uploading to computer or vice versa – just a plug-in away
  • Touch screen – ease of use for juniors as well as seniors

 

Drawn conclusions and identified any recommendations or next steps:

Just like any new device it is taking time to work through the number of apps,  to deliberately choose the right apps that best suit the needs of our learners.

Getting all staff and students involved in learning how /when to use this as the best tool for the learning This is being done through staff professional learning workshops or specific skills teaching time.

We are looking at budgets for supporting i-Tunes and data use.  With only 2 i-pads school-wide at this stage, we are considering the purchase of several i-Touches to use in the senior and middle rooms so the i-Pads can be more extensively utilized in the junior room. I-touches can be used the same as the i-Pads only more compact and cheaper. 

We are trialing i-Books downloaded for reading groups and may consider further extensions to the reading programme through Kindle and i-Tunes in the future.