Mobile devices in the classroom

During session 2 we explored the uses of apps that can be used in the classroom. There are many apps that are suitable for educational purposes; they can explicitly teach elements of the Computing curriculum, or be integrated into other curriculum subjects. As an Early Years teacher I am passionate about promoting collaborative learning by providing children with social opportunities (ELG PSED – Making Relationships; CLL). I have seen children working in pairs on PC’s; taking turns to hold the mouse, use the keyboard, swapping seats etc. Sharing an ipad removes these issues as the touch screen allows both children to engage at the same time; enhancing their social skills. Additionally, apps allow: media to be used flexibly, learning to be customised, SEN and EAL learners to access areas of the curriculum that would otherwise be inaccessible i.e. listen to stories when they cannot read (ELG CLL – Language for Communication) and also engage in visual activities. Children will also enjoy the independence; taking control of their own learning by choosing their own apps to explore. However, I do believe it is important for the children to know the purpose of what they are doing; an adult may have already modelled how to use the app (ELG KuW – Exploration and Investigation; PD – Using tools and materials) and explained the links to the children’s learning, or facilitating their experience on the ipad to make it purposeful.

collaborative learning
collaborative learning

Exploration of the Apps

thinglinkThinglink is a wonderful app (and is also available for use on PCs: as it enables you to bring pictures to life by making them interactive; making information visual and accessible. Notes, music and videos can be added to a still image (ELG CD – Music; CLL Reading). This is a completely free app and is very easy to use. You simply choose an image (from the sample, or your camera roll) and add interactive tags by tapping the image. The interactive tags can be photographs or videos from your camera roll, YouTube videos or text including web links. Children could create their own Thinglinks to display their own knowledge; taking their own photographs or videos and adding labels (ELG KuW; PD; CD). Teachers could use these for a variety of purposes: to introduce a new topic, during main teaching, left out on the IWB for children to freely access which would also enable children to use the IWB pens to write free hand onto the image as opposed to having to type. I tried Thinglink out with the Topic idea of The Hungry Caterpillar in mind. I took a photo using the ipad and made this interactive by putting on prompt questions which may be used during story writing, and I also attached some videos: The Hungry Caterpillar story and a video of a caterpillar hatching and another of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. This app could be used across the whole curriculum e.g. interactive information about different countries, cultures, food, animals, traditions, history, problem solving. I think what is missing from this app is the ability to draw your own pictures, however, used on an IWB this can be achieved! I have shared this resource on the ResourceBank.

This post demonstrates the following Teacher’s Standards:

TS1 – These ideas would help to foster the development of a stimulating environment.

TS2 – Encouraging collaborative learning demonstrates my awareness of social constructivism.

TS8 – I have gained further knowledge about how to embed ICT into the curriculum; the resources available and how these can be used effectively.