iPads in the Early Years

Learning, Teaching & Exploring with iPads @ Laburnum PS

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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