Today we officially used our ipads as a part of our Learning Centers. I chose two math apps that I thought would be challenging, but not too hard. I picked Hungry Fish and Math Is Fun 4-5. I had noticed that a lot of the apps were full of ads or opportunities to upgrade. These two seemed free of ads and the material seemed appropriate. Math is Fun was perfect for my pre-k kids. I plan to review both apps in a later post.
I tried to think ahead a little in how I was going to manage the ipads. Last time we’d used them informally, I’d had a student ready to download Angry Birds from the app store within 30 seconds. He was just waiting for my password! I wanted to avoid that this time so I put the two apps I wanted to use into a separate folder and told the children that they could only use the apps that were in that folder. My Angry Birds fan still managed to find his way to the app store, but I think it was a function of pushing the home button too many times. (I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt! ) I’m realizing that for children this young, I’m going to need to find a way to either limit their access to parts of the ipad, or teach them to only use certain parts of the device at certain times. I’m wondering if I can dedicate one of the home screens to apps we use in the classroom and keep the rest of the apps on another page to help simplify things a little.
We had two ipads in our center groups today. Right now, we have 2-3 kids in each group so it was perfect for one group, but for the second group, a couple of children had to take turns. A 1:1 ipad ratio definitely works better. The children who were working independently were able to get more practice time in. I had the children who were sharing an ipad take turns. One would play the game while the other watched. After one “round” they would switch. This really wasn’t ideal. The two boys working together had different skill levels, both in terms of math and technology. One boy was feeding math answers to the other. At the same time, the boy with the technology skills (my angry bird fan) was able to help his friend navigate the app when it was time to change games. I am looking forward to next year when we’ll have one ipad for each child.
Over all, I think the ipads were a success. The was lots of individualized learning and the children were really motivated by the opportunity to work on the ipad.