What we did:
To begin with, on the iPads, I downloaded a Toy Story book (Disney Pixar) and Goldilocks and the 3 Bears (Kidztory) to use as a guided reading text for my lower ability readers. The books were very popular amongst this group so I went onto to buy the whole Kidztory collection and have been using them for guided reading sessions ever since. I also installed iBooks and purchased Horrid Henry’s Stinkbomb (Francesca Simon), George’s Marvellous Medicine (Roald Dahl) and The Famous Five: A Short Story Collection (Enid Blyton) to use with more able groups. The children chose these stories after a discussion about what they would like to read. I also downloaded The Witches (Roald Dahl) on iBooks to use as a class reading book.
I went on to add many numeracy games on both the iPads and iPods, such as times tables games, time games and mental maths activities. These have been used with my class in mental starters and as extension activities at the end of lessons.
We used the iPods to take photos around the school grounds for a science topic on ‘Rocks and Soils’ and the children went on to uploading them, printing them off and writing captions to go with them.
At the end of a literacy topic on ‘Adventure and Mystery’ we used the Storyrobe app to create our own adventure story films. The children brought in toys to use as characters and took 5 photos of their characters around the school grounds in order to tell their story. They then wrote their script, recorded it and uploaded it to Storyrobe. The class then watched each others stories.
In all areas of the curriculum we have used the iPads as a research tool and written notes in the ‘Notes’ section. For example, we are studying the Vikings in history and were researching Viking artefacts. The children used Safari to research information which they then put into the notes section. We have also looked up Viking artefacts using google images, enlarged them and made drawings.
As our school has been having a push on attendance and with my class have 2 persistent absences I decided to use the equipment as part of golden time on Friday afternoons. If the class had a full weeks attendance they were able to use the equipment during free time.
Impact in one term:
For the target group of 6 children, 1 child has moved a full level, 4 children have moved 1 sub level and 1 child has moved 2 sub levels.
As a class overall, the children have all made 1, 2, 3 or 4 sub levels of progress in reading.
The children have an increased confidence in reading and willingness to read aloud in class and group situations. We read in every lesson and often there are too many children who volunteer for the amount of reading there is to do!
For lower ability children, their knowledge and ability to work out new vocabulary is increased. By reading on the iPads, they were able to read words which they had never come across before and really surprised me with the words they could read.
The equipment has been used as an incentive for attendance which has had a positive impact on the whole class’s attendance.
The children have gained many new skills using this equipment and, at times, they have taught me a thing or two!
It has been much easier to have access to the equipment rather than trying to book the school ICT suite every time we want to use a computer.
Initially we had a few teething problems with wireless and technology in our school. However, this was quickly rectified and since then the project has run smoothly. A useful tip for other schools would be to ensure you have a strong wireless network.
Apps are also sometimes tricky to find and we feel it would be really useful if the app store had a ‘Schools’ section. However, if you find a good app that you like, at the end of the story it will often say ‘Buy more apps’ which takes you straight to the store where you can see other stories in the same collection.
Tom Bates – St Clare’s Primary School