Our school has received a Verizon Thinkfinity grant and will be purchasing 20 iPod Touches for use by the whole school. That means 28 classrooms and many more specialists will be vying for the opportunity to use them in the classroom and out.
I would like to get a handle on how I can do this at the kindergarten level. We do not have a tech integration specialist or teacher. It's all classroom teacher driven. In order to demonstrate their use for all early childhood classes, I need to get this down to a science and it needs to work with a wide range of learning styles and levels. It's realistically about a 4 year age range in literacy and work habits.
So I put this out to everyone who works with Kindergarten and other early childhood students. I appreciate any and all feedback.
What do you use and recommend?
I will do my best to answer some of your questions. Yes I would allocate some of your budget for apps. The good news is you can sync (I believe) up to 5 devices. One app I would recommend is Confer-lite. It's great for keeping guided reading notes and any other notes on your students. If you are getting the latest iTouch with the camera you can take a photo or use any image as your background. Just go to settings-wallpaper-then select your image as your wallpaper. You can also have a different photo for your lock screen. Before you buy any apps I suggest trying the free version (lite) and read the reviews/number of reviewers. Hope this helps.
Today I introduced the iPod Touches to my K class. We have a case of 20. I had lots of apps loaded from the Kindergarten.com website. The month of April is Autism Awareness Month and all of the apps were free. They were labeled ABA for applied behavioral analysis. They are fairly inexpensive otherwise. I recommend these apps for ELL, early childhood, and speech and language work. Our ELL teacher happened in during our session and she was thrilled to discover the new options.
Since the apps I had installed were located on the last couple of screens, I was able to keep us focused on a smaller target.
At this point, they had the general navigation down so it was time to explore freely. There were a few challenges such as opening an unwanted screen and we found our way out again but hitting the power button. The children were sharing discoveries and talking a lot. It was great!
After the session ended, I put all of my new apps into folders (or whatever they're called) so we can reach them more easily with fewer chances to find their way to Google Earth.
The kids wanted to use them again right away but I put them back and let them explore on the laptops from the cart instead.
Hello! We introduced the iPod Touch to grade 4 students. One management task was using numbered wallpaper to use for identifying the iPods. I've recorded information here:
with links to Tony Vincent's web site. It is a wonderful resource for mobile device use in education.
The "home button" on the front bottom is useful for moving between 'screens' on the iPod. Lots of helpful hints right on the Apple Support page.
I bought great microfiber cloths for cleaning the iPod, power strips, USB hub for charging, cases, and screen protectors with a WeAreTeachers.com grant.
We received good news today that iTunes Apps for Learning site is now broken out by subjects Math, Language Arts, Life Science. That will aid in locating apps for certain!
Those are great tips. I'll be sure to check out the Apps for Learning collection as well as your own link. What I would really like to see more of are some apps that allow authentic creation activities and not just for illustrations. I'm sure they are out there but my students are not up to the reading and writing tasks that are demanded of many apps.
Thanks again for the important sharing of the numbered wallpaper. Our school does not allow the teachers to take the iPods without a training and I am in the first round of that. Everyone will be grateful for any organizational pieces.
Thanks! With the creation tool...free resources available with Thinkfinity of course! However, TuxPaint is a free download app for your computer lab. There is the text feature so a story may be written with illustrations. Check out Pixie for an affordable creative writing and art program.
I recommend everyone check out jrogers link above as it shares a tremendous amount of experience. I will have more understanding of problems that may arise and I also made a 3 page list of apps marked as suitable for K that I will check out when time and money allow. I wish there was a test drive feature that would allow us a 3 minute test just to see how an app really works before plunking down the money for the full app. I have been able to rule out some apps with just a quick test on someone elses device.
I gain lots of info from the iTunes reviews. If an app doesn't get a 3-5 star rating, I won't waste my time looking at it. There are also other sources posted online where you may gain insight from others experiences.
Oh, the Pixie program I referred to in a previous post is from Tech4Learning.