Monday, February 21, 2011

Things have certainly changed since my day - iPads?

The introduction of the iPads at JAM has allowed us to make a even greater use of Collaboration learning. This is where the kids work as a team, sharing what they know and explaining it to each other. As we all know, the best way to learn something is often to try to explain it to someone else. As we have seen, however, there often needs to be someone to decide which child’s opinion is the right one (in a dispute over whether to spell the word as “and" or "adn", for example). This is where the iPad comes in.

Picture the scene: Two JAM kids were sitting around an iPad, shortly after I had introduced the devices in the classroom in September. They were looking at an activity where a word is shown with a blank space for the first letter. The app speaks the word, and shows a picture of the object in question (the words are all nouns). The app presents several options for what the first letter might be. By tapping on the right letter, the kids get a cheer from the iPad and can move forward in their game.

In this case, the game presented “b” and “d” as options. The exchange was something like this:
  • It’s with a “ba”
  • Yes, it is! You’re right. Like for “boat!”
  • But, is that the one that goes around this way, or that way?
  • Well, there’s “da” too. I remember that... We could get the picture dictionary!
I overheard the conversation, and the problem-solving exercise.  Not long after, the voice of the iPad called out their success.

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