The Friends Lower School has a one-to-one iPad Program in grades one through four. Each kindergarten class has 9 iPads for a class of 18 students. The Lower School Homeroom Teachers, the Lower School Technology Integrator, Lower School Librarian and other specialists have carefully selected apps that support our rich curriculum. In Kindergarten and First grade, reading and math apps reinforce specific skills.
In addition, children can use the iPads to listen to recorded audiobooks and record their own voices. Use of iPads is also incorporated into such integrated projects as digital Puppet Shows about families, collaborative books that connect up with social studies and Spanish alphabet books. During buddy time, third and fourth graders use iPads to share their digital creations with their kindergarten and first grade friends.
As Friends Lower Schoolers grow, they begin using iPads for longer writing assignments. In Second, Third and Fourth grades, Bluetooth keyboards and stands facilitate comfortable typing with an iPad. Letters to buddies, poems, Prairie Day research and lab reports are some of the writing assignments that our children complete on their tablets.
Teachers and children also use iPads for time lapse photography and stop-motion animation. Examples include plants sprouting, block castles rising, hundred charts filling up, and a classroom coming alive with dancing second graders.
In the Friends Seminary Lower School, iPads are another tool for exploration. They do not replace essential opportunities for learning from a teacher or building fine motor skill with a range of materials. Children are encouraged to make and photograph their “off-line” artwork. When they create expressive digital art, it does not include clipart.
Lower School student have access to iPad throughout the year but they do not take the iPads home. Work that needs to be backed up or transferred to another device is created in or uploaded to Google Drive accounts.
The incorporation of iPads into our Lower School has been an exciting journey. We continue to test out new apps, discuss developmentally appropriate uses of technology, and learn a lot from our own students.
In this movie, a Friends kindergartener thinks up a story, create her own dialogue and records a sequence of actions.