Man have I been looking forward to this! My first chance at getting into classes with the iPod Touches. My expectations were certainly exceeded and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.
Full disclosure: I have never taught K2 before. In fact, I’ve never taught kids younger than Grade 2, so thankfully I had an expert to work alongside: Ms Louise is an experienced early years teacher (and fellow PYP workshop leader), so I was in very capable hands.
We worked with groups of 7 or 8 students at a time. The rest of the class was working with the teacher assistant on some shapes work, and another group had play.
We decided on 2 free apps to start with. First up, we introduced ABC PocketPhonics Lite
This app reinforced phonics skills and writing skills. Once various sounds were explored, students played the game, where the programme says a sound, and the kids have to select the letter that matches the sound. They end up making words (e.g. an, it, sit, cap).
What we liked about this app was that we could select lowercase letters (from a menu of uppercase, lowercase and cursive), US or UK English sounds, and even the style of print. Very customizable.
After about 10 minutes on this app, concentration levels were beginning to wane (especially as a menu of other apps was only a click away!). I had planned on doing some more structured letter practice using our next app, Doodle Kids, but Ms Louise wisely suggested we let them draw and play.
What’s neat about this app is that you can change the background with a 2-finger tap, draw with various shapes, and basically be creative. When we were with the second group, Ms Louise said, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could save some of the pictures?”
I remembered that with the Whiteboard Collaborative Drawing app, that simultaneously holding down the menu button and the sleep/wake button took a photo which got saved in the photos folder on the iPod Touch. I had a go, and sure enough, it worked!
From there, we were able to email it to Ms Louise (or anyone!).
** We had previously set up the iPod Touches with a generic gmail account I created for the school, and this function would need to be set up prior to use with the kids **
The kids were really excited about the prospect of emailing their pictures to their parents. One wee girl said to me, “This one’s for my Mum, because she’s going to Germany tomorrow.” How sweet!
Remember, this is day 4 of school for these little guys. Wouldn’t you be impressed with an email from your child’s teacher with a drawing they’d done for you? This one’s by Daniel.
I have been asked countless times since purchasing the iPod Touches for the school, “But what are the kids going to be learning on them?” Don’t get me wrong, I totally support this mode of thinking. If we can’t justify to teachers/parents/anyone what kids are learning on the iPod Touches, then they’re just another toy.
So I have been reflecting on what the kids learned during that mini-lesson, and here are some of the skills I saw (using the PYP Transdisciplinary Skills):
- Fine-Motor Skills
- Codes of Behaviour
- Acquisition of Knowledge
Clearly there is a lot of learning taking place.
I know this is just the beginning, but I hope to document the different ways we are using the iPod Touches at UWCSEA East so we can build a bank of knowledge and ideas to share. We are always looking at unique ways we can use them, so please feel free to share ideas with us.