This week’s blog focuses on another amazing specialty class at The International Preschools: iPads and Technology with Ms. Nikki.
I started working in the classroom as an assistant teacher in September 2012. I worked in the classroom for two years before I became the iPads/Technology teacher. During my time in the classroom, I was very intrigued by the use of iPads as listening centers. When Ms. Eira, the former iPads/Technology teacher, visited the 76th Street location, I would discuss apps and other fun ways to integrate iPads into the classroom setting.
A few years ago, IPS introduced the iPad program into the Green Rooms. We use educational apps that help further develop skills that children use every day (hand-eye coordination, spacial recognition, pattern work).
In the Pre-K and Junior K classrooms, iPads are also used as listening centers. The listening center is a great way for children to follow along to stories using both visual and auditory cues on the iPad. The books that are on the iPad change monthly, and are usually tied in to follow the classroom theme of the month.
Over the last few years, the iPads/Technology class has grown and expanded. Our program now includes coding and programming, as well as stop motion animation. In the Pre-K classrooms, I have introduced a bee/robot (BeeBot) that teaches directions (right, left, forward, backward), as well as basic coding, which is a set of instructions children must follow. During the second half of the school year, the Junior K classrooms will learn about stop motion animation, a film-making technique that makes inanimate objects appear to move on their own. Stop motion animation is a great way for children to open up their imagination and take ownership for something they created. Stop Motion is also a great followup to BeeBots. BeeBots and Stop Motion teaches children to plan out their steps ahead of time before they create their project, as well as foster iteration and experimentation through trying and testing.
I want to show the students that the iPad can be so much more than something to play games on. The iPad can be a great tool. Along with educational gaming apps, it can turn into a flashlight or alarm clock if needed. You can communicate with others through it and even read books on it. I hope children can walk away from my class excited and inspired to learn more about creating with technology.