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Enhancing teaching and learning through the use of iPads

Tags: English | Mathematics and statistics | 1-1 Digital technologies | BYOD | iPads | Lower primary | Primary |

Students at Tauranga Primary School used iPads to consolidate their knowledge base, and reinforce learning intentions.

"Our school regularly reviews the way technology is embedded in effective learning and teaching."
eLPF 2014

This snapshot describes how iPads can be used in junior numeracy and literacy programmes, and offers practical suggestions on how to manage this technology in classrooms.

Teaching as inquiry

A major priority for Tauranga Primary School was to create 21st century learning environments as part of their future focused strategic direction. Teachers were involved in meeting the needs of their students by blending the very best of traditional teaching practices with the huge potential of ICT.

A class of year two students were selected to trial five iPads in their classroom. A class of senior students at the school also took part in the trial to enable the school to explore how different year levels could utilise iPads as teaching and learning tools.

Why were iPads chosen?

  • To cater for student needs – iPads address a variety of learning styles and create interactive classrooms.
  • To engage students – iPads provide an engaging learning environment that can hook in reluctant learners.
  • Cost effective – iPads are considerably cheaper that desktop or laptop computers but still provide excellent learning opportunities.
  • Portable – Students can move around the classroom with an iPad and find a work setting that is beneficial for them and others.
  • Touch technology – The large multi-touch iPad screen lets students use their fingertips which is beneficial for younger children.

Using iPads

Students used the iPads daily, particularly during numeracy and literacy sessions.  

Numeracy

Students used maths applications to consolidate their knowledge base. They adjusted the settings depending on their ability. Favourite maths apps include:

Reading

Students used iPads during reading time to work on focus areas such as reading fluency, comprehension, handwriting letter formation, and grammar. A task board outlined the apps they needed to work on. This promoted self management and allowed the teacher to fully focus on her guided reading group.

The iPad activity that had the greatest impact on achievement involved the students using the inbuilt camera to record themselves reading out loud and watching it back. They self assessed their reading to identify future goals. This activity led to increased fluency and expression.

Favourite reading apps include:

Writing

iPads were used to publish work in a fun and visually appealing way. An example of this came about when the students wrote a report in their books about the ship Rena hitting Astrolabe Reef at Mount Maunganui, and then used the iPads to publish their work using the app Puppet pals – Director's Pass .

Handwriting and spelling

Handwriting apps on the iPads helped students to practise correct formation of letters. Spelling apps were used to develop knowledge of spelling conventions. Favourite handwriting and spelling apps included BlobbleWrite and Word Magic .

Advice for classroom teachers

Implementing iPads in a classroom

Less is more

  • You don’t need to find lots of applications.  Work out what fits your classroom programme and get students confident with those apps.

Meaningful uses

  • Make sure that iPad use is meaningful for students. Don’t force iPads into your programme for the sake of it. They may not enhance student outcomes in every curriculum area or topic.

It won’t happen overnight

  • Setting up iPads requires passion and patience from the teacher. You have to recognise that it takes time and work to get them set up in order for them to play an effective role in your established classroom programme.

iPads and student management

Pre-teaching apps
  • The explicit teaching of applications and how to play them is crucial for focused work that will enhance learning outcomes. Spend a few weeks at the beginning of term demonstrating how to use the apps.
Use of task boards
  • The management of iPads needs to be well structured and organised. Task boards can be used to direct the students. Rules for using the iPads are helpful.

Teaching practice and student outcomes

  • iPads did not replace traditional teaching practices but were used as a tool to provide accessible, relevant, and high-quality learning opportunities. The iPads enabled the teacher to reinforce classroom learning, and hook reluctant learners into the programme.
  • Student engagement and motivation increased through the use of iPads. A dramatic drop in classroom noise level was noticed when students used them.  
  • Students’ reading fluency and expression improved, as well as their writing ability, and confidence in mathematics.

Online discussions

Join the Virtual Learning Network (VLN)  and participate in these discussions.

BYOD in Schools  – a community group with discussions and a collection of interesting readings from NZ educators.
BYOD
Managing BYOD at Albany
BYOD: How to use mobile technologies effectively  – featuring Dorothy Burt, Mark Quigley, and Donna Smith sharing their vision, process and progress, benefits and challenges for BYOD in their schools.

Software types

Find out more about the software types used in this snapshot.

BYOD/Mobile technologies


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