iPads in the Early Years

Learning, Teaching & Exploring with iPads @ Laburnum PS

Where to begin!

As we were researching and learning about using iPads in education, we can across several tools that we have found useful. Today I want to share a tool that links together a tool we teachers already use on a regular basis – Bloom’s Taxonomy – and apps that we may use on the iPad.

This supports our use of iPads as a tool for learning – a way to deepen the learning experiences for our students:


(Click here to enlarge this poster.) We know that there are levels of understanding within learning. Remembering something is the lowest form – for example rote counting to 20 doesn’t mean a child understands numbers. The highest level, Creating, involves the students in demonstrating their knowledge through creating something new. For example, taking the numbers 1 – 20 and making a number puzzle or treasure map.

When choosing HOW we use iPads, we are always concerned with the depth of learning the tool offers – sometimes better learning can be achieved with pencil and paper, sometimes the iPad offers a deeper experience.

See you next time!

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New program catch-up

Way, way back in December 2012 (!!), we made an exciting announcement about our new iPad program – if you missed that info, here it is again!

iPads at Laburnum Primary School in 2013

It is with much excitement that we are able to announce that in 2013 Laburnum PS will take another big step towards ensuring 21st Century learning for our students with the introduction of an iPad program in Grades Prep and One. This fantastic learning program will see 100 iPads shared between the 10 classrooms at the Prep and Grade 1 level -­‐ or approximately 10 iPads in each classroom, or approximately 1 iPad between every 2 students!

This program will begin in 2013 after more than a year of investigation, trialing and feedback by the staff at LPS, with over 30 staff having used an iPad in their teaching this year. We are grateful to our teachers for their dedication to improving outcomes for students by participating and learning throughout this trial process.

While iPads are relatively new on the market (the first was sold on April 3, 2010), the Victorian Department of Education recognised their potential early on, and a government iPad trial beginning shortly thereafter. As we as a school have learned from others how to manage, implement, use and, most importantly, teach with iPad technology, we have become convinced of the power of these tools for learning, particularly in the Early Years.

The DEECD trial is still ongoing, however the trial is believed to have found many benefits to learning so far.t

“The trial has investigated the capacity of iPads to …

o increase independent and self-­‐initiated learning among students

o increase student motivation and active engagement in learning

o improve teachers’ capacity to plan for and meet individual student needs

o improve student learning outcomes

o extend students’ learning beyond the classroom

o improve parental engagement in learning and strengthen home-­‐school links

… the trial has found that effec2ve use of iPads can lead to all of these outcomes.”

(I&J Management Services, 2011)


With any new technology, we must consider how to use the tool -­‐ rather than simply focusing on the ‘flashy’ or ‘cool’ factor! This has been our aim this year with the trial we have conducted -­‐ to identify the ‘effective use’ of these resources. What we have experienced in our Early Years’ classrooms so far has been nothing short of fascinating; for example, our students have been able to:

o Independently create their own how-­‐to videos to teach their peers
o Interact with virtual books in small groups at the Interactive Whiteboard
o Create, illustrate and voice-­‐record their own stories
o Use apps to model maths problems using real images and interactive maps o Manipulate virtual objects to help understand visual perspective
o Take photos and annotate them to show their understanding
o Build, share and justify their own virtual worlds

And all of these activities have been collaborative, interactive, have supported individual learning needs and have met curriculum outcomes!

In the Early Years of school, we know that hands-­‐on, relevant and purposeful learning is key, as is a continued focus on direct teaching and the learning of basic skills. None of this will change with the iPad program. Our students will still learn to count using blocks and they will sill practice hand-­‐writing and reading aloud. iPads will certainly broaden the scope of what is possible for individual learning but they won’t replace any of the wonderful activities that already occur in the classroom.

Our iPads will be stored in classrooms with easy access assured for all students and teachers. They will be accessed as a tool for learning -­‐ as and when is appropriate. Just as in our 1:1 netbook program in Grades 4-­‐6, our students will certainly not be spending hours each day on ‘screen-time’! The iPads will be one of many tools that we will use to ensure great learning opportunities for our 21st Century students.

Current research into iPad use has identified the Early Years as an area in which these tools surpass other technologies. The ease of use, lack of mouse/keyboard, lack of multiple buttons, lack of need to ‘log-­on’ or ‘boot‐up’, the simple icon-­based applications system and the extreme portability have been shown to be powerful enhancers of learning. I’m sure we’ve all seen videos or photos of very young children using iPads or iPhones or iPods -­‐ we know students will learn how to use this technology quickly. This means that less Ame is spent on teaching how to use the tool and more Ame is spent on using the tool for actual learning -­‐ we see this as a great benefit, particularly in the Early Years.

Our Prep students in 2013 will graduate high school in 2025, and we don’t know (and no-­‐one can predict) what the world will look like then, or even what technology will be available. What we can do is provide appropriate learning experiences and access to tools that will support our students in developing key learning skills. Skills that will support them to become active and informed citizens and independent, motivated learners. In introducing this iPad program we aim to provide opportunities to develop these skills.

We will keep you informed as we begin what is sure to be an exciting journey into becoming an ‘iPad School’, and we are thrilled to be able to offer this fantastic educational program! If your child is entering Prep or Grade 1 in 2013, “Welcome On board” -­ more details for these parents will follow in upcoming weeks.

Joanne Blannin -­‐ eLearning Coordinator

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Organising for Learning

In our shiny new iPad trolleys, each of the two drawers is equipped with two baskets. These will make it simple for teachers to grab 5 iPads at a time for use in the classroom. While they can hold up to 8 iPads  we currently have 5 in each basket, which makes space to accomodate our great new iPad covers – complete with the LPS logo!


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Welcome Parents!

To all our LPS families – welcome and thanks for joining us here online.

As you may have read in the recent school newsletter, this year sees Laburnum PS provide access to a relatively new 21st Century learning device – namely, the Apple iPad. 100 iPads will be distributed across the 10 classes that make up Grades Prep and One. We are very excited to be able to provide access to these fantastic learning tools at a ratio of approximately 1 iPad to 2 students (slightly higher in Grade 1).

With these learning tools, your child will be able to access more personalised and focused learning experiences and they will be able to give and receive feedback. Importantly, they will also be able to maintain focus on their learning and not have to spend large amounts of time deciphering the tool itself (as can be the case with desktop/laptop computers in these age gropus). These great benefits make us extremely positive about your child’s learning in the coming years.

In all of this, your role as a parent is crucial. Although these iPads will be used only at school (they won’t be brought home), you can support this program by beginning to talk with your child now. Ask them what they know about Prep or Grade 1, what they might learn, what tools they might use. Discuss concepts such as the Internet, email, privacy and cyber-safety. Do they understand that an iPad is connected to the Internet? What or where is the Internet? (Hint: we tell them that the Internet is simply us connecting to other people’s computers around the world). These are all important starting points for this year’s learning.

Cyber-safety and digital citizenship are part of our regular curriculum – only now we have a practical way to provide clear examples of how students should behave online. Of course, in the Early Years’ our students are only beginning their online journeys. However, we believe that supporting children to develop good and safe online habits should begin at school, and as soon as our students begin working online.

Each year we offer parent information evenings to support your role in your child’s cyber-safety. Be sure to keep your eye out for the 2013 evening.

Please check back soon to learn more about what is going in Grades Prep and 1!


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Setting Up..

Well, it has taken almost 3 weeks, but we are almost ready to launch our iPad program here at school. Good job it didn’t take longer as our students are VERY keen to get going!


In the photo below you can see the iPad storage and Syncing trolleys we will be using. So far, so good. There will be one trolley between every 2 classrooms in Prep and Grade 1 – that makes 10 classrooms total across the early years’.

In each of the trolley are two drawers that each hold 10 iPads – 10 iPads for each classroom (10ipads x 10classrooms = 100 ipads!). However, with 20 iPads in total between 2 rooms, teachers can also negotiate with their neighboring class to use an entire class set of 20 ipads, essentially creating a 1:1 iPad program as and when they are needed!

We have begun with some initial teacher training on how to use the iPads and setting some goals for their use as part of the classroom program in the first few weeks. We know from research that any new tool can take up to 3 weeks to become a normal part of the classroom routine and so we are planning to allow some exploration time early on to help our students move from focusing exclusively on the tool, to focusing more on the content we are presenting.

All 100 iPads have a range of apps pre-installed for teacher and student use. These apps were chosen by teachers in the Early Years’ area who participated in our iPad trial last year. We are very keen to draw on their experiences to help integrate this technology into the program.

Much more than simply using apps, however, we want to see what learning we can support using these tools, and in particular more open-ended applications. For example, an app called ‘Little Storybook Maker’ allows students to draw images, type or write in text and then narrate their story. This can be presented to the class and then emailed off the iPad to the teacher who can keep this as record of both their reading and writing abilities.

We will be sure to share this and other activities with you as we get further in to the program!

See you here again soon!

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Welcome To Our Online Space!

Welcome to our blog for the Early Years’ classes of Laburnum Primary School. If you’d like to know more about our school, have a look at our website: http://www.laburnumps.vic.edu.au/.

We are going to use this blog to share how and why we are using iPads in our Grade Prep and Grade 1 classrooms. At LPS we have 217 students at those levels and in early 2013 we are introduing 100 classroom-based iPads into our teaching and learning program. We have spent over a full year researching and investigating these tools, to understand what they can offer our students and as a result we believe iPads are the best tool available for us at the moment – but who knows what the future holds!

Be sure to check back here regularly to learn more about the goings on in the classrooms and what the students (and their teachers) are experiencing!

A quick overview of how we got to where we are is below!

Jo Blannin

eLearning Coordinator/Leading Teacher


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