Thursday, 24 January 2013

iPad Learning - Using iPads as a Learning Tool

I am often asked what are the best apps for learning with iPads. Actually it's not just about the apps. It's about the teaching and learning. I am fortunate to work in an IB school and as a part of a team. This team compromises of another year level teacher, an EAL teacher (just for our two classes) and an Indonesian teacher with a strong inquiry background.

We plan together and teach together. One of the great things about that is amongst us there is a lot of experience from which we can draw so many ideas. I want to give you a glimpse into the current learning in my class.

The inquiry is all about conflict. What is conflict, how it is caused and the different ways it is resolved ... or not resolved. I teach 9 year old children and the point of this unit of learning is for my students to learn to describe everyday conflicts and to learn how these conflicts are resolved and hopefully learn about some strategies for themselves.

Have you noticed yet that I'm not talking about apps but about the learning?

During Literacy time I have been doing a novel study with the class. I chose to study Anne of Green Gables as there are so many examples of conflict in this story that my class can relate to. I have 1:1 iPads in my classroom. I was able to locate many iPad books of Anne of Green Gables but I have chosen an ESL version which is simplified and much more accessible for my students.

I like this version because it has illustrations throughout the text and it comes complete with comprehension tasks at the end of the book. My students are creating a book review using the Book Creator app on their iPads as we read the story and watch the movie in parts. We don't need any paper because we read and create the review directly on the iPads.

Anyways, back to the iMovie Conflict Theatre task. As my class is developing their understanding of how to describe conflicts, they have been placed in small groups of 3 to create a script based on a conflict that they have experienced themselves at school.

I really like for my students to work in groups to write. This gives them an opportunity to learn from one another. The students were asked to write for 3 roles; the narrator, the protagonist and the antagonist.

Here is an example script written by one of the groups using Pages on the iPad:

 Being a Bully

Narrator : There was a girl called Amy. She had a big problem about being bullied at school. Kelly was a bully and she was always saying bad words to Amy.

Amy : I don't have any friends to play with so I don't want to go to school.

Kelly : How come you don't have any friends like me!

Amy : ...

Narrator : Amy always ignores her. She always using the avoiding strategy.

Narrator : The next day Kelly came to Amy to bully her again.

Kelly : Give me that iPad!

Amy : No I don't want you to take my iPad because you already have one.

Keily : Hey I said give me your iPad!

Amy : But I am still using it right now.

Kelly : I said now Amy!!!

Amy : Fine I will read a book instead of using my iPad. You can have my iPad now. I can continue my work with my iPad later on when you return it.

Narrator : Amy was using the accommodating strategy.

Narrator : At lunch time Kelly approached Amy at the cafe.

Kelly : Hey you ugly girl.

Narrator : Amy couldn't deal with this problem anymore so she decided to force Kelly to stop bullying her. Kelly pushed Amy.

Amy : Try to hit me more. I will hit you back!

Kelly : Ok, if you lose you have to buy lunch for me.

Narrator : So they started fighting but the fight didn't stop. Then school was over for the day. This is using the forcing strategy.

Narrator : The next day Amy tried to trade something that Kelly needs so she would be nicer to Amy. Kelly tried to using the compromising strategy.

Amy : I really want to be good friends with you.

Kelly : I don't want any friends like you.

Amy : If you will be friends with me, I will help you with math.

Kelly : hmmm.. Let me think.....

Narrator : They became friends just for that day.

Narrator : The following week, Kelly bullied  Amy again. So Amy tried to find a new tactic. This time she tried the collaborating strategy.

Amy : Kelly if you don't stop bullying me I will write this problem my the blog so everyone will read it and know who you really are.

Kelly : I dare you, you jerk!!

Amy : I don't care if I am a jerk but I want to stop this bullying forever.

Kelly : mmmmmm....... Ok. Lets just stop this thing.

Kelly : I'm so sorry......

Narrator : So they became best friends forever after they had tried so many different solutions. 

This script was written by two girls and a boy. Now that the script is ready having been emailed to the teacher and checked and emailed back, the next step was to make it into an iMovie. Here is a short film of some of the students actually filming their iMovies. Before each group went out to film, they sat with a teacher and broke their script into scenes. They also learned about camera angles, how best to shoot with an iPad and how to act out their scene making it interesting and full of action! 

So far it's looking very nice. The kids are learning about using their voice, facial expressions and their hands to convey emotion. How can kids learn this? Well, I simply project the video clips via airplay to my Mac and project them up in the classroom. As we watch each take, we can discuss what works and what doesn't. I'm looking forward to tomorrow to finishing the captures so that we can begin the editing process.


  1. Hey Jane,

    Thanks for sharing! It's great to hear how the iPad is a great learning tool for your students. You may be interested in checking out this article on using iPads in the classroom:

  2. We have been learning a lot about the use of iPads in the classroom and this activity is very interesting. Not only does this use of the iPad introduce children to technology it also helps them increase there understanding of the story and come up with their own story. I really like how you said to focus on the learning not just on the apps. The apps should be there to support the learning not to be the only part of the learning. I think that this project does a nice job of relating to the students lives. When the students act out the story they are able to put it in a context that is relevant to them. It might also be interesting to use a drawing app and have the students make a picture book of sorts as another mode of expressing their ideas.