Tips for the One iPad ClassroomBy Heidi Butkus
Do you have an iPad in your classroom? Are you wondering how you can make use of it when there is only one device for all of your students to share? Well, never fear, I have tons of ideas for you right here! And for those of you that may be new to my blog, this post focuses on using the iPad in the young children’s classroom, such as Pre-K, Kindergarten, First Grade, etc.
Before you get started using the iPad in any manner, make your expectations on how to use the device clear. Here are my rules for the iPad.
Rules for the iPad
Carry the iPad with two hands.
Sit down while using the iPad.
Hold the iPad from the base, not the cover.
No banging, slamming, or hitting the iPad.
Share nicely and stop when your turn is over.
I made a poster for the rules with picture cues to help the children, and it is a free download on my blog! Click here to download it in two sizes; one is 8.5 x 11″ and the other is poster size! It prints in four different sheets. Just glue them down on a poster board and laminate them.
Be sure that you physically demonstrate how to share the tablet. Then have some children in your class model that skill for the others. (Just telling them to share is not enough!) My favorite technique is to pick my two students that seem the least likely to share nicely to show the others how we share. First I show them, and then the children model it for the class. This establishes that we all know that these children understand how to share the device. Therefore, if problems arise later, they can’t claim that they didn’t understand.
Sand timers make it easy for little ones to share. When the sand runs out, it is another child’s turn to “push the buttons.” BUT- when using a one minute sand timer, don’t let them change apps, or they will spend their whole 60 seconds choosing an app and opening it. Then the sand will run out before they have had a chance to play it, leading to frustration. THAT’S when they won’t give up their turn when the timer runs out!
A different way to share the iPad is to teach them to take turns pressing the “buttons.” First child one presses it, then child two; then child one, then child two, etc. That way, nobody has to wait for a very long time to play.
Here are some ways to use the iPad in a classroom where there is just ONE, and many children.
1. Use it as a motivational device.
* Tell children that when they master a certain skill, they will get a
chance to play a favorite game on the iPad for a few minutes. The iPad
can be a powerful motivator! I have had some children try very hard to
learn how to write numbers once they realized that there was a reward
that they really cared about waiting for them!
* Use it as a reward for a child with behavior issues. “Make a deal”
with the child ahead of time that the child will meet a behavior goal in
exchange for time on the iPad.
* Let a child that has finished his work quickly spend time on the
iPad. You wouldn’t believe how quickly and beautifully my students were
able to work last year with the lure of the iPad on the table. If the
work looks rushed or sloppy, the child must fix it before getting a
chance to play.
2. Use it for differentiating instruction.
* For small group instruction: Let an advanced child that has mastered a skill that you are working on in a small group work on the iPad instead of doing that small group lesson. Even Kindergartners and preschoolers can be taught to share the iPad without intervention, with a little practice!
* For large group instruction: Use it to occupy a child that is continually giving away answers during a whole group lesson. Send that advanced child to work on the iPad, and give him or her headphones. That will give the rest of the class some “think time” and a chance to answer your questions without the class “smarty pants” always giving it all away.
3. Give children one-on-one time on the iPad.
* Use volunteers to monitor this, or send children to work on it for five minutes at a time, setting a timer to help you remember to rotate them.
* Consider allowing those that get 100% on a test to take their next
quiz on the iPad.
* Consider giving those that get 100% on a test the reward of alone
time on the iPad.
5. Use the iPad for a Listening Center, setting up recordings of books
in iTunes. (Remember that you will need a headphone adapter/splitter if
you want the children to all share the one device.) For more
information on how to use iTunes for a listening center, click here. [continued on page 2]