Friday, April 4, 2014

Using iPads in the Pirie Library by Stacie Bell, Librarian

Since the iPads arrived in the Library, the students have been buzzing with excitement. They are all eager to get their hands on this new technology and their energy is catching. After explaining basic iPad handling procedures, my classes were ready to dive in.

I began with my third graders. They were fascinated several weeks ago when we participated in an “Hour of Code” using an offline activity. I saw the iPads as an opportunity to really get them coding. We used the site All students had a unique login and were able to immediately begin solving problems using simple coding techniques. I was particularly amazed at watching my students not only be eager to help each other, but I also observed them try a problem again and again until they persevered in reasoning out a solution.

My kindergarteners began using the iPads by utilizing an app called “Early Learning Academy.” This app gives students access to ABCmouse, an excellent curriculum tool that allows students to practice reading, math, and art. The students work in partners and follow a learning path that includes a ticket and rewards system to keep them motivated. These young students have shown amazing responsibility in their treatment of the iPads and in sharing the device with their partner.

My sixth graders could not be left out of the action. They used the iPads’ Keynote app to create presentations. Students selected a partner and were randomly assigned a Dewey Decimal range to investigate. Students had to select important topics in their section and find book covers to represent those topics. I threw them for a loop, however, when I told them they also had to cite where the images came from. When all their information was gathered, students got a kick experimenting with transitions and presenting their work to the class.

Over the coming weeks, I look forward to finding new ways to integrate the iPads into the Library curriculum. So far they have proven to be a fun way to get my students motivated and engaged in learning.

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