Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Tips and Tricks for Creating Authentic iPad Learning Stations for Primary Students

A few weeks ago, I did a workshop on Creating Authentic iPad Learning Stations for Primary Students.  I thought I would share some of the things that I spoke about and some of the key points that I tried to get across in my workshop.

First, an iPad Station does not consist of handing a child an iPad, putting them on an app and letting them click away.  Come on people, aren’t we past this by now?  In the past, I have had colleagues come ask me if they can use the iPads in my room the following period.  When I replied yes, their next question was, “What apps do you have on them?”  WHAT!? Integrating technology doesn’t mean that you hand a child an iPad for a period because you have nothing planned.  Using technology needs to be purposeful.  It needs to be thought out, and there needs to a reason to use it.

Technology is used to give students a voice, give students choice, to give students a global audience, to make thinking visible and to allow me to assess and give feedback using voice and video.  It also enables my parents to see their children’s work on a daily basis through Twitter and their personal blogs. 

When I first started creating my iPad task cards, I only had 2 iPads in my classroom.  I originally used them as a centre or station during my daily 5 or my math stations.  I was able to put the task card along with an iPad and voila! My students were able to all have a turn using the iPad for something meaningful.  All of my iPad stations stem from the Ontario Curriculum. 

Now that I have a cart of iPads, I still use the iPad stations but, now many of the task cards are made for whole class activities and are step by step instructions for students to follow to complete a task.

All of my iPad stations are content creation stations.  Which means, that students use their creativity and knowledge to produce something that shows their learning.  Here are a few examples:




My second key point is that you only need one page of apps for your students to be successful.  I too, have fallen into the free app downloading frenzy.  What happens is you have so many apps for your students to use that they never get comfortable using it and then have to spend extra time learning the functions rather than concentrating on their work.  If you have a handful of apps that your students can use efficiently then they are not distracted by trying out a bunch of new apps that probably aren’t as good as the ones I am going to suggest anyways.

Here are the must have apps we use in my classroom:




I like to use apps that you can use for different purposes.  We use two whiteboard apps in my room.  For young children or children new to the iPad, Draw and Tell is where to start.  For experienced iPad users (which is most children) or children in grade 2 or higher I strongly suggest Explain Everything.  If you can only buy one app for your iPads, make it EE.

Here is an example of one my iPad stations using EE:


And a student sample:





Another favourite app we use all of the time is Popplet:



We also use Pic Collage for many different applications:



Lastly, Geoboard is a great free app to use for math:





This year, I have used Padlet walls to assess work.  Some of my students choose to use paper and pencil instead of the iPads to show their learning, with a quick picture of their work they can upload it to the Padlet wall and I can look at all of my students' work in one place from anywhere and see who is ready to move on or who needs to work with me the following day in a small group.




These are only a few examples of the iPad stations we use, please feel free to use any of the stations I have created.  You can download and print them for free.  At the top of the page where it says iPad Stations is where they are all stored.  Enjoy!

7 comments:

  1. What a wonderful article! Thanks for the shares on how to use more creativity with the iPad!

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  2. Brilliant! I can't agree more with your second paragraph.

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  3. Excellent article. I completely agree with you on your "application" of apps and how to use them. Also the idea that that we don't need lots of different apps. Thank you for the ideas, very clearly thought out and explained. One thing I do find helpful is to have a few "experts" who can also help the children. From a very wintery New Zealand.

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  4. Excellent post. This is what I try to get across to my staff, (I am the Integration Specialist). I am currently getting staff on board with Seesaw-The Learning Journal, as it answers my biggest issue, that of having an audience. If you haven't seen it, I would thoroughly recommend it. Cheers from the south coast of Western Australia!

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  5. Awesome! :) Thank you for sharing lots of ideas on how you implement and how your students use the iPads. I enjoy watching the student sample videos! My students love using Book Creator, Chatterpix, and Explain Everything. I didn't get iPads until this year after our Spring Break. How do you start off the year with iPads? Do you introduce and allow students to use them the first week of school?

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  6. Mrs. Wideen, I can't thank you enough for sharing your IPAD Station ideas. You have inspired me to make my own! I have used a few of them and modified them for third grade and they are perfect. I have made a few of my own and wanted to share with you. I have incorporated the Seesaw Learning App into the uploading process which makes paperwork so much easier. Here is the link:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/3l3baud33mpxu3u/ICANstationshare.pptx?dl=0

    If it does not work, please let me know and I will send again.
    Many thanks.
    Tama Trotti

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    Replies
    1. These are great Tama! Thanks for sharing!

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