How do you use iPads and tablets?

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by  Barbara Jacobs, MKEA Regional Coordinator, Greater Boston Region

Lisa Kuh, Director of Early Education for the Somerville Public Schools, posted a question recently to colleagues in the Greater Boston Regional MKEA Leadership Network set up last year. Her question: How are adults and children in other districts are using iPads/tablets in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms? Here is a synopsis of the responses:

Adults use iPad/tablets:

  • to videotape specific activities with children to share an individual child’s work with parents
  • to document observations and develop assessments for GOLDTM and portfolios
  • to document formative assessment: Teachers use the “Explain Everything App” to show how children carry out different mathematical operations or how they understand a particular part of their science activity
  • to videotape specific activities with children to share an individual child’s work with parents;
  • to use with educational tools like the Osmo (a gaming accessory for the iPad);
  • to augment communication for some students using Apps like Pro-Lo-Quo.

Children are using iPads/tablets (including at computer stations):

  • to support early literacy and early numeracy using pre-kindergarten children Apps as a choice activity
  • to support the content they are learning (reading, math and handwriting goals) at a center. For example, children are directed to specific Apps and games, and classroom teachers download books that students can listen to on headphones. Handwriting Without Tears and other handwriting Apps are also utilized this way.
  • to create a class electronic book, in which children contribute to a creative project through audio, visual, and text documentation to teach podcasting and use of QR Codes

Outside the classroom:

  • Librarians use iPads/tablets with kindergarteners to teach coding and primary technology skills like “drag and drop.”

As schools are looking into using iPads/tablets to to support formative assessment through observation and documentation and to support children’s learning in the classroom, they are seeing that the cost to purchase this hardware is not within their current budget. One way teachers have purchased the hardware is to apply to organizations like Donors Choose, an organization that supports teacher requests for needed supplies. View their website at:

Have you found other ways to use iPads/tablets?

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