I have noticed the children using the iPads during their free inquiry time as tools for creativity, scaffolding spoken English skills and developing new uses for the iPad. Whilst the children have had teacher directed time to explore these apps these examples are child initiated.
Creativity, Ruby and Naoimh drew on their experiences from ELC, where they used Auroflux to make music for mermaids. The girls have created many wire sculptures and wanted to enhance the aesthetic appeal of their pieces by adding music.
Drawing on connections, Suwon made pictures using drawing pad and decided to share the images with out Twitter buddy class in Indonesia. This was one of the first times the children had spontaneously chosen to communicate with the other class.
A safe place to explore language, Jiwon, Shoma and Suwon took the iPad to a quiet corner and made a puppet Pal show. They choose to record the show in English. Puppet pals gave them a safe environment for practicing spoken English and the ability to hear their voices. They reflected on the recording, noted changes to be made, and delighted in hearing their voices.
Mirroring ideas, The children worked out that more than 1 iPad at a time can mirror onto the projector. Ray and Ruby combined their creative activities. Ray manipulated his 3D dinosaur and Ruby composed music for it.
Fotobabble is a powerful tool in the hands of young children allowing them to take a picture and record an audio message. ‘Babbles’ can also be shared to Twitter and then onto a blog. Fotobabble enables children to document their own thinking, learning and interests.
The children realised their ‘babbles’ were not going to Twitter from the iPhone app (which we are using on our iTouch and iPads). We tried to work out the problem in school but had no luck. We contacted Stonia at Fotobabble. She replied straight away, agreed there was an issue and sent it to the development team. As a result the app has been updated.
Thank you Fotobabble
We discussed how we could say thank you to Fotobabble.
Sofie: We can design for them and draw.
Ruby: Yes let’s send it to them. We need to email them and ask them.
Sofie: Yes like when Kingfisher class sent us the thing. (Runs over to book case and pulls out a plastic folder of points to the envelope).
Ruby:Let’s Skype them.
Hana: They are too far away.
Feng: We can shout to them.
Hana and Ruby: No!
Ruby: Email them so we know we know where to send it. We can take pictures and send it.
Ray: Blog. Put it on the blog. We can put them there.
We have agreed to create pictures and thank you notes to be sent by mail and make a Fotobabble thank you for the blog.
Thank you Fotobabble in all the languages we speak.
Stonia from Fotobabble replied to us. She put some of the children’s pictures and letters put onto their face book page.
For our unit of inquiry, “People use a variety of languages to communicate their ideas and feelings” the children and I have been watching a variety of videos showing art forms such as music, dance and mime. The children were fascinated by the musical video created entirely from everyday objects by the STOMP performance group.
We have a STOMP app on our iPads and this gave an authentic reason to introduce our music apps on the iPad. These apps give the children an opportunity to work in open-ended ways, creating their own pieces.The video shows the children’s initial exploration of the apps.
The level of cooperation and the sharing of ideas.
The way the children explore a range of apps.
How the children question whether an app can share created content with others.
This was our third skype session with KinderPris. The first session was a teacher directed meet and greet followed by a child directed element where children shared their patterns. Session two was a small group skype session where Shoma shared a book in Japanese and the other children chatted and shared books. At the end of session two, the children from KinderPris wanted to share a dance, ‘Gangnam style’. KP knew about this song from an assembly and listening to it at home. They were fired with enthusiasm, a genuine child initiated connection had been made. The children started to shout out, “We want to… went want dance skype next time.”
Session three was a roaring success as we saw the children take increasing control of the skype session. KP shared Mama Mia and then both classes danced to Gangnam style. As Ben prepared another song, the children took the iPad and started spontaneous interactions with each other. We watched KinderPris dance and then the children insisted on dancing to Gangnam style once again. Every child in the class was up and dancing.
Frederique suggested book/dance skype as a possibility for session four. This would mean sharing a book and then dancing. Everyone thought about this and decided to have another dance skype session. Frederique couldn’t stop smiling, she said this is what she really wanted to!
Ben and I see this year long collaboration as an opportunity to consider carefully the relationships young children could form using technology. We will keep you posted. Please could you tell us if your children talk about this collaboration at home.
KP’s dance skype video. We wanted to draw on this spontaneous and child-directed moment, but will be creating a musical menu by children and teachers, where we can access content, lyrics. More on this in another post.
Ruby suggested the children make 3D models of the moon as part of an inquiry into moon viewing. The children researched in books and used a moon iPad app Ms. Tasha found. The children then transferred their research into three dimensional models.
I suggested the children took photographs of the models and import them into the app, drawing pad. The children then re-sized the photographs and edited out the background colour and created another art piece. This new work was exported to Twitter and could then onto the blog, thus opening their work to a potential global audience.
Several children have expressed an interest in writing books. They said they need to learn to write letters. The children have focused on this objective and I notice as children make their daily schedule they include handwriting.
We have been focusing on two aspects of ‘letters’, the correct formation and the sound the letter can make. This week the children moved from whiteboard practice to an iPad. I thought this would be of interest to the children. As we reflected on the session the children said this app was the same as paper but it helped them do the letter formation the right way. This reflects the point that whilst practice apps may have some use they are not developing critical thinking skills. Ironically five year olds seem to understand this better than app developers!
Our focus on the sound a letter makes led us to an interesting discovery. As the children brain-stormed a list of words that have the ‘c’ sound in them they became aware of many groups of ‘c’ sounds that needed sorting out. A wonderful authentic link to our Maths unit on patterning, sorting and classifying.
KP have been exploring apps that help them create and share their ideas beyond the iPad. We want the iPad to be a tool that activates creativity and helps children communicate their thinking. We want children to be able to use the iPad to engage with others as they build their learning community. We want the iPad to work hard for the children, not the children passively producing answers for an app.
We love Fotobabble it is a very simple and a free tool.
Children can take a picture
Add audio, their explanation, story etc
Send it to Twitter
It appears on the side bar of the blog.
HELLO AGS KIndergarten in Canada. The children sent a hello message to their new tweet buddies. We decided to share some of the languages we speak.
Here is a Fotobabble from Sofie to her sister Louisa. Sofie made her a special design and wanted to save it. We couldn’t do that because we needed the carpet, but we could take picture and put it on our Twitter feed.
As part of our school wide value program we have focused on putting our beliefs into action.
We shall be mindful of the needs and rights of others.
We shall be honest in our dealings.
We shall be peaceful in our intentions.
We shall be responsible in our actions.
We shall be supportive of each other.
The Grade 9 students listened and asked questions as their buddy shared their portfolio. The kindergarten children were able to give detailed answers about their best pieces and what each piece represented.
Best line from a Grade 9
“That’s so cool. I had those scissors when I was in kindergarten, can I touch them?”
KP see the blog as a place that shows their learning.
Some KP children have their portfolio at home. I asked them how they could share their learning. The first answer was the blog!
The children want to know where their Twitter buddies live. They know it is in other countries but they are not sure where the countries are. We looked on maps and globes. This was an authentic reason to use Google Earth. This video shows the children’s first exploration of the app.