I love using my i-pad in the classroom sooo much that I want more of them! I know I may be a little late to this game and that many teachers who are reading this are most likely beyond what I have to report, but I am so excited that I have to report anyway!
Recently our district gave all Kindergarten and Grade One teachers an i-pad. We were given it primarily to use with our class for a universal screening test called Dibbles. While administering the test is taking some getting used to, I have to say that I am having absolutely no trouble getting used to finding ways to use my i-pad in the classroom. I'm new and just beginning to experiment, but I can already see that elementary classrooms everywhere can benefit from having more of this type of technology in their room.
Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to receive the adaptor which allows me to project children's books (which I have purchased through i-books on my i-pad) onto my Interactive Whiteboard. Viola! I had an instant big book for $3.99 (versus the traditional $24). But there are more benefits than merely the cost. Since my Smartboard is bigger than a big book, all the children in my class could see the words of the book as I read it. Being actually able to see the words is an easy way to increase engagement. What's more is that I can highlight words on my i-pad which I want to emphasize (in this case, repetitive sight words) for the children to read with ease.
I work with a classroom of students identified as needing targeted instruction in reading. These are first grade children who struggle with reading but have no identified processing difficulties. They just need an additional boost in reading instruction. The i-pad and Smartboard allow for me to target my instruction. After reading the traditional version of The Little Red Hen yesterday to the class, I found an electronic easy-reader version of this story adapted and illustrated by Gloria Lapin, a retired elementary teacher (http://primarilyreading.com). She creates beginning reading comics. I projected the beginning reading comic version of The Little Red Hen for the students to read. They COULD read most of the words of this easy reader, allowing them to enjoy the story even more and feel successful. Not only that, but they enjoyed the comic book style of the story. This also allowed me to begin a discussion on how different versions of books tell the same story and have the class compare/contrast the two different versions. I doubt I would have even found this book if I didn't have an i-pad with i-books on it. Instant engagement, instant enjoyment and instant interactive lesson! The hat trick to successful learning.
Increasing Fluency In a Fun Way
The i-pad can be used for so much more, I know. I can't wait to explore having interactive stories in the listening center and using the i-pad to record children reading to themselves. Reading, listening to themselves and then reading again will inevitably be a fun and engaging way to increase the fluency of these students (and all students) -- not to mention how much easier and efficient it is to use the i-pad than using the traditional tape recorder.
This experience has lead me to explore how i-pads are being used in other first grade classrooms. I was informed that there was a first grade teacher in Rochester, NY who uses a lot of technology in his classroom to help teach reading. His name is Richard Colosi. After viewing his website, I am further convinced that i-pads are meant for elementary classrooms. Check out his website at www.richardcolosi.com I can't wait to learn even more from him.
I am becoming so greedy! Now I want a class set of i-pads!