iPads as a Classroom Tool

This week’s topic is about laptop management in schools.  In first grade, we do have a class set of laptops, although they’re for occasional use and aren’t meant to be used in the same way our middle- and high-schoolers use them.  So I don’t think the topic quite applies to me and my students.  However, our school is in the process of deciding what would be the best replacement for our ancient Mac desktops. One contender is the iPad. Certainly there will be many considerations when implementing iPad use in the primary classroom.

I must admit that I have some reservations…  Is this a distraction to students?  Will they increase student learning?  Would iPads be a management nightmare?  Are there quality apps out there for reading?  The list goes on and on.

Well, tonight I googled “reading apps iPad” and in 0.7 seconds I got 252,000,000 results. Certainly there have to be some apps out there that are motivating (read:  fun) for the kids, yet also are quality and worthwhile from my perspective.

I realized it’s the management that I’m a bit worried about.  How will I know if the kids are doing what they’re supposed to be doing?  How will it work to have some kids using the iPad while others are reading “old school” books?  And then it hit me…  Just like every routine, it has to be achieved through baby steps and clear boundaries need to be established, just like we have done in our traditional reading workshop.  At the beginning of the year it took weeks of practice until the kids had our routine down.  A new iPad routine would just take practice, just like anything else.

Currently, Scott Middleton has been trialing the use of iPads in first grade.  I’m interested in hearing more about how the iPad use during reading time is going in his room.

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