iPads in the Early Years

Learning, Teaching & Exploring with iPads @ Laburnum PS

New program catch-up

on February 28, 2013

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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