Monday, November 29, 2010

iPad Launching!

On Monday, 5H went to the Planetarium at Glenfield to enjoy Mr. Miller’s presentation. During these trips I always think the best part is that children who never or rarely have a chance to get out of the city zone get to see what a night sky without pollution or city lights looks like. They see a starry night the way it was before human beings overpopulated and obscured that view. However, as time has gone by since we began these yearly trips, our students have become less impressed by something they just view and I think they’ve come to expect more interactive technology.

What a surprise when we got back from the Planetarium and the class realized they would be playing with iPads! After a short talk from Dr. Putrino about how the iPads should be handled, we went right into a space app. I had found this application when I got the opportunity to play with the iPad over the weekend. It was more like obsession than play time, really, but when I realized I had to actually feed my son and take care of other basic human needs, I was able to have the iPad wrenched from my clenched fingers.

During my play time, I found an app that actually shows you the night sky in sections according to where you point the iPad. You wave it in a figure 8 and it coordinates itself to your hemispheric location. When you move it across a ceiling or the sky if your outside, it shows you the constellations in that particular location. It also shows you the planets if they are in that range. In addition, there are options to read about the different planets through a wiki-like window and you can turn the less brighter stars down to make it look like a city night sky - only showing the brightest stars. You can even zoom in with your fingers like an iPhone or iTouch.

I went on to show them a few more apps having to do with geography and how they can play games together. My favorite one being PenduGeo - a game of hangman with all the countries in the world that can also be played in a mode that allows you to make up your own words.

There is so much potential for the use of this new technology. I would love to use it as enrichment. They are also great for reinforcement of basic skills with flashcards that can be used for any subject. There are apps for dictation, writing, reading aloud, spelling and drawing. Research is easy with the Wiki apps and access to the internet. Another great thing about them is the incentive for good behavior. I’ve always found putting the carrot before the cart to be much more effective with classroom management or behavior issues. If any of you have any other ideas, please share!

Needless to say, the children had a wonderful time and were excited to know when we could use them again. So am I!

Alice Hermida

5th Grade

Science & Social Studies


  1. It seems like the 5th graders really enjoyed using the iPads! I just purchased one for my husband for his birthday and over the long weekend I got to play around with it. As Alice said, there really are countless ways to incorporate this technology into the classroom. I was looking at some of the apps for the reinforcement of basic skills, and even the flash cards were exciting! I think the iPads will be a fun and exciting way for the children to practice their skills. I am looking forward to using them in the resource room!

  2. I agree that the iPads will add so much value and excitement to learning. I had an opportunity to fiddle with an iPad for a little while at school. The applications that I explored were impressive. In my class, I use individual white boards with the students every day. My students like them and they are a great way to engage them, but the cost to replenish the supply of dry erase markers is expensive. The white board feature on the iPad is more impressive and it does not require any dry erase markers. I am looking forward to using them with my students, too!

  3. I am glad it has been a hit so far. The short time that I previewed it in the office certainly peeked my interest. I am looking forward to the 4th graders getting them and seeing how many of the students will teach me things about ipad. Technology is an amazing tool.

  4. That is so awesome! All I can say is that I am a little jealous! Just kidding! I would love to hear more about cool apps you find. I think that is fantastic to extend the planetarium lesson by the use of ipads. Great job, Alice!

  5. It was amazing to see how engaged the 5th grade students were when using the iPads. Their comments were so interesting; it seemed that every student was intrigued by them. I also found them pretty incredible! I wanted to give a big thanks to Kristen for taking the time to find all the apps, set up the iPads, and for setting up a Google doc describing each app. It was so helpful!!! (just one of the wonderful things you do!) I am looking forward to using them again.

  6. I think the iPads are a great way to really reach our learners where they are at, technology wise. It's amazing to see how much the kids truly know about technology and how engaging/useful it really can be to the classroom experience. So many countless ways to use them for reinforcement, enrichment, and exploration. Hoping those iPads trickle down to the lower grades at some point! So happy to hear they've been a hit!

  7. I just got my own iPad. I can't wait to learn more about it and use it. Hi tech is here for good. Young children are so comfortable using computers, cell phones, iPods and video games. I am so glad to be a part of a school that has Smart Boards in almost every classroom, computers on wheels and IPads. We are definitely a tech wise school. Go Northeast!!!!

  8. Sorry about the omitted name. The above is my comment.