Teacher Julie Hinman, from Avondale School, talks about Learning with iPads in her classroom. She discusses the challenges and benefits of using these devices and the impact that they have had the the students learning.
I’m Julia Hinman and I’m teaching Year 3 at Avondale Primary School in Christchurch. When we were lucky enough to have iPads brought into the classroom the response from the children was amazing.
Last year, I used the iPods a wee bit, we were really lucky to have a set of iPods, and some of the apps that we were using on the iPods was then again on the iPads. So it was (quite) just a transition stage into using it onto a bigger device. So there was a relatively low transition time between the iPods to the iPads. So we first stepped into that quite easily.
The challenges have come really I suppose in the fact that now we are so enthusiastic in wanting to introduce it into all areas of the curriculum that you take time to try find something that will work with the children and is at the right level.
Other challenges include – making sure that they are always charged ready to go, storage, and not enough of them. Because there are only five and there are 25 children (so) we’ve done a lot of cooperative work to get around that.
I suppose finding the right apps is probably one of the hardest challenges with introducing the iPads.
The benefits I can see are things like more cooperative learning, and children happily working together to reach their goals.
It’s easier now than it was earlier to have them in different parts of the curriculum, writing is becoming quite a wonderful thing.
I’ve seen the differences the first time we did Life Cards the children were doing drafts and then putting it onto the iPads, now they just take an iPad and they write on there together. They are starting to use the editing points on the app as well. So they are really looking into using it more as a learning tool, so the benefits are really coming through. (I've) been trying to explore a lot of new ideas to increase the use of the iPad throughout the curriculum in the classroom.
I’ve used the camera a lot. I’ve found that the children appreciate they are taking photos as well as using the photos that we take in their writing and in things like photo essays, and Pic Collage and things. So it’s more than just taking a photo, it’s applying it. Doing visual language work as well and then presenting.
So you are working around the whole curriculum even if it’s only on one simple idea. So Pic Collage has been a really good thing.
We’ve used Life Cards a lot and again that’s working with the photos with their written work and they have to orally present them, they are working cooperatively.
The apps that we use for, just for practice during maths and reading and phonics have been really valuable. The children are very eager to use those so they are reinforcing the skills that they’ve already been taught, and always looking for new ones that can be brought in and used again too.
I’m very enthusiastic about learning more about the iPads and making it a whole learning journey rather than just isolated.