The use of technology in the Kindergarten classrooms reflects the increasing use of technology in our every-day lives. Technology is incorporated into all areas of the curriculum, as a tool to support teaching and learning. There is a place for digital games to help children practice skills. However, most of the time the children are using laptops, iPads, and digital cameras to help them express their thoughts and ideas, access information and document and share their learning journeys. Over the course of the year, the children will have opportunities to explore off-line and web-based tools. Through the class blog, children will begin to develop and understanding of the concept of a “digital foot-print” and the power of digital communication. Throughout the year, we discuss ways of using the internet safely and responsibly.
Below are some examples of how technology has been integrated into the Kindergarten curriculum.
The Hungry Monster
KC iPad Learning Journey
Integrating the iPads into our Unit of Inquiry:
Integrating the iPads into our language curriculum:
KC Movie Makers
The Hungry Monster
Over the last few days, some children have been coming back time and time again to the kitchen area in Free Inquiry Time. They are keen to have an adult engage in their play scenarios. Today, Leander joined the children in the kitchen and brought a new play scenario with him. I recorded as much as I could of the enfolding story, both in words and photographs. Afterwards I reviewed the photographs with Leander and we talked about the story. Some of the Kindergarten children have shown a deep interest in making movies recently. I suggested to Leander that we make a movie out of his story.
All the children were delighted with the result, and were excited to think that their stories could become movies. Perhaps this will inspire some of the children to explore other movie making possibilities.
KC iPad Learning Journey
The school has invested in 15 new iPads to share between Kindergarten and Grade 1 classes. I thought about how I would introduce the children to the new iPads. I was a bit unsure as I had never used an iPad or iPhone before. I decided to start by finding out what the children already new about iPads. I predicted that they would be far more knowledgeable than me.
What is an iPad?
Aika Oh, I know those. My dad has one at home. I do games.
Lisa Yeah, my dad too.
Aika You can do games. I know. But not Wii. Different.
Lisa I can do on iPhone. I have iPod and iPhone and iPad.
Eileen My mum and Dad never buy. They say no, no, no.
Aika And I have iPhone. My daddy and mummy and everyone share
Saku My dad have and I always do game. But my sister have DS.
Anish And me have
Jenny I have a ipod in my house
Saku I have two; my mama have one and my dad.
Aika I know iPod. Its for music.
Jenny I can do a cat game on iPhone. On my mum’s iPhone
Aika I have a plus game on iPhone. It’s Japanese
Issey I got a iPad 2. But my mummy has iPad 4
Jenny It has lots of buttons, and a big round twirly thing.
Anish And me
Issey My daddy does have computer same. With apple.
Saku My daddy have but no apple.
Issey Somebody eat that apple. Look!
Jenny Oh yeah, He’s right! It’s got a big bite.
Lisa That’s how you know its all the same. Because of the apple
Issey No. It’s iPad don’t have apple.
At this stage I intervene, and explain that the apple is the logo for the Apple Company, which produces several different types of devices. Together we brainstorm and come up with a list of Apple devices, which I write on a sheet of butchers’ paper. We read the list through together and I leave the butchers’ paper hanging on the easel for the children to revisit throughout the day.
The next day, we look again at the paper recording the children’s ideas. The children remark on the repetition of i and we talked about the apple brand. Saku suggests we make a table. (We have used tables in the past for recording all kinds of information.) I ask what information we should record in the table. “I know! We can write if you have any. Like who has a iPad.”, suggests Jenny. The rest of the group agrees and so I create a table, wondering out loud as I draw, about how many rows and columns I will need. The children draw tallies on the appropriate cells to record their prior experiences with these appliances.
It is becoming clear that that the children have had a great deal of prior knowledge and experience. I decide to handout the iPads without much background information, and to observe what the children do with them. The children pick up the iPads and get to work. They are purposeful and confident. Many children know how to turn them on. Even first time users quickly discover how to scroll through screens and select apps. The children spend the next 30 minutes absolutely absorbed in their personal inquiries. They are all deeply focused on what they are doing. At the end of the session, I feel I am dragging them away to send them outside to play.
I begin the following session by asking the children what they think we could use the iPads for. The children brainstorm and we make a list of possible uses for the iPads:
How To Use An IPad
- Find the way with maps
- Draw maps and other stuff
- Read stories
- Learn adding and counting
- Word search
- Learn Hiragana
I introduce the children to the word application and invite them to explore some of the applications on the iPads. The children were to work in pairs. Before they start, I asked them to discuss with their partners how they can make sure that both partners have equal opportunities to work the iPads. The children agree strategies with their partners and get to work. I tell them that I will be asking them to share their thoughts about the apps they have used at the end of the session. The students spend several sessions exploring on their own, helping each other out and swapping favourite apps. At the end of the session I ask the children to share their thoughts about the apps they worked with. I ask the children how we will record their ideas. Someone suggests a list; someone else thinks a table will be better. In the end, we decided to make a table.
|Talking Tom||Because he funny and fall down and he have stars.||It’s boring. Only falling down. And he’s not doing anything. Only the same thing every time.|
|Jack and the beanstalk story||It’s so funny. The egg is the best because you have to find where it is.|
|Cat in the Hat||It’s Dr Seuss and he so funny, that cat. And I can read it by my self.|
|Simple Symon||You have to copy but its so hard. And you can get better every time.||It’s too hard. Even if I do it again and again, I can’t do it.|
|Feed Me||It’s so easy. You can do it every time.|
|Toy Story||It’s so, so good. It’s funny.|
|Align Four||It’s good because you can play with your friend.|
We were about to start a new unit on sharing the planet. For this unit, we planned to work closely with the Japanese department, looking at the some of the space issues in Japan. Together with the Japanese teachers, we planned that the children would make 3D models of Japan to help them understand the limited building space. We planned that we would refer to 2D maps and to a globe to help the children understand the geographical location of Japan. We wondered whether Google earth might provide a good opportunity to integrate iPods into our unit of inquiry. Wd decided to introduce the children to the Google earth application, without much front loading and to record their responses. Again, the children worked in pairs. Adults were on hand to support and encourage the children if needed, but really, we wanted to see what the children came up with oh their own.
Exploring Google Earth:
- It can go round and round
- It’s going round so, so fast
- South pole
- Antarctica. So white because snow
- I find a snow place. It’s white, that why.
- I have a place like ice. So much, much ice. Maybe the North pole?
- Yokohama, I found Yokohama
- No, that’s not Yokohama. No houses. Yokohama has too many houses.
- This is hard to find. Its got too big and now and can’t see
- Hey, it’s going big and small.
- And now its bigger and bigger and bigger.
- I can make it turn. Look, it’s spinning round and round.
- It’s like the real earth.
- No, the real earth don’t spin like that.
- It’s too big! It’s like that boy who is lost. I feel like I am lost! (We had just read Oscar and Hoo by Theo)
- Look, I found Japan.
- No, that’s not Japan
- Yes, it says Japan. Look!
The children were fascinated with the application and spent ages exploring how to make the Google earth globe turn and spin. They loved zooming in and out, and shrieked with delight, calling out to each other. Some children began to get frustrated because they couldn’t control the zoom function, and couldn’t keep track of where on the globe they were. However with adult support, they remained engages and fascinated as they discovered streets, parks, sports fields and other landmarks. Several children made connections between the app and our classroom globes. A possible next step is to display maps of the world, Japan and Yokohama so that the children can continue to make connections between the different ways of representing the planet.
Each month we focus on a new author. We had planned to look at the books of Eric Carle for this month. However, when we realized that several of the iPad apps featured books by Dr Seuss, we decided to make a last minute switch to Dr Seuss. The children gathered a collection of Dr Seuss books from the library. The children were already familiar with some of the Seuss classics, which were in our class library, and could “read” the books by themselves. They were able to identify the Seuss apps on the iPad easily and were soon making connections between the printed books and the digital books.
KC Movie Makers
As part of our Unit of Inquiry into how we express ourselves, Elif showed the children some stop-animation movies that she had made with another Kindergarten class. The children thought the movies were “cool” but they didn’t think that they could make a movie.
Saku No way!
Eileen It’s too difficult.
Jenny Yeah, we don’t know how to do that.
Aika You have to know movies and how to do movie.
Lisa We could try to do it.
Aika We need camera.
Jenny We need a movie camera.
Carl But we can not do movie because only daddies can do that.
Lisa I think we can do it if we try. We can ask someone to help us.
Jenny Yes. Like a adult.
Tasha I wonder who we could ask?
Paige You can show us. (To Tasha)
Tasha I have never made a movie before. I don’t know how.
Jenny Well, Ms Elif knows.
Lisa Yes! Yes! She must know if she did it before.
Jenny Oh yeah. She made these ones so she must know it.
Saku Yes! We can do. Because we know. Because we see it.
Issey I think we can do it. But we need some paper
Paige And, did you realize, we can use sticks to move the people?
Jenny We need some characters.
Issey But how they will move and you don’t see the hand?
Aika What you mean?
Issey I mean like you will see a hand is moving
Paige Oh! I know. Issey means that the hands will be in the movie. The hands who are moving the characters. You know, with the sticks?
Lars Maybe we could take photographs?
Aika I don’t understand that.
Jenny Me too, I don’t understand. Because how can we take photographs if we want to have a movie? We need a movie camera. Not a photograph camera.
Lars But I mean that we can take photographs so you don’t need to move. Then we can join all the photographs together to make it a movie.
The next day, we return to the discussion. I read the children the notes I had taken the day before. The children now seem to feel that they could perhaps make a movie, but they are not sure how to start. I suggest that we could begin with a story idea. The children have published several books. I suggest they might like to take one of those stories and turn them into a movie. However, the children do not like this idea. They tell me that they want to create a new story.
The children already know quite a lot about narratives. Over the year, we have read lots of narratives and have analyzed the text form. Together, we have written both non-fiction and fiction narratives. The children are beginning to recognize some of the key elements of a story. Carl says that we will need characters. Jenny reminds us that we need a setting, and Lisa points out we also need a plot. Some children are not sure what a plot is, so Jenny explains, “It’s, you know, all the stuff, everything, all that happens. You know, to the characters, what is happening to them.” “Yeah, that’s right”, Lisa confirms
Issey suggests that I write down the children’s ideas on some chart paper. “So we don’t forget”, Paige tells me. I scribe as the children call out their ideas. I keep reading my writing back to the children, to check that I have documented their ideas accurately. The children correct me and ask me to add details and make changes. I am writing faster and faster as I try to capture all of the ideas. My writing becomes messy and it’s not very easy to read.
Paige You’re kind of making a mess
Issey Oh Yeah! Big mess (laughs)
Lisa But it’s okay. Because you are trying.
Jenny Don’t you know, a mess is okay. Because it’s quick writing. But we all can all read it.
Aika No, not everyone.
Carl Yeah. Because I can’t read.
Jenny But if we help then everyone can read
Carl Yeah. And, you know, sometimes I can read.
Jenny Sometimes you have to make a mess
Paige And it’s okay for mistakes
Jenny Because it doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to spell.
Aika You just have to sound out.
Paige But not if you publish. Then it has to be all right.
I post the flip chart on the wall where the children can refer to it later. I tell the children that we will have to do some research on the characters in the story; I’m not sure if there are ducks in the Antarctic. Several children immediately suggest using Google. I suggest that they children might like to do some research at home. Later in the day, in Free Inquiry Time, I notice some of the children have got the globes and are peering intently at them, and writing notes about the Arctic and the Antarctic.
The following day, several children tell me that they have done research at home. They share their research with the group.
It seems that we have a few problems. The most significant problem is that many of the characters do not live in Antarctica. The children discuss whether this is a problem or not. Some children comment that since it’s a fiction story, it doesn’t matter. Others feel that even though it’s a fiction story, the story should be true to nature. In the end, Jenny has a brainwave. “I know! We can change Antarctic to the Arctic.” Everyone thinks that this is a fine solution.
Someone points out that we still have a problem with the penguins. After a short discussion, the children agree that the penguins will be invited specially for the race. In light of the research, some other changes are made. The ducks become Arctic Terns, the foxes become arctic foxes, and the rabbits become Arctic hares. All of the ideas have come from the children. I am delighted that the children are applying what they discovered in their research to the story, and with their ability to make connections.