Working on iPad Fluency with Lower Elementary Students

I am NOT interested in using the iPad with my students as a worksheet substitution!

Kill and drill apps on the iPad are still just that… kill and drill activities.

I want my students to :

  • use apps to create, not just consume
  • fluently pick apps that will serve their purpose
  • fluently switch between apps, then insert, embed, share and disseminate their creations

We have to expose students to a variety of apps to help them gain skills in iPad Fluency

By fluency I mean the ability to:

  • connect tasks effortless together (ex.creating and editing a video, then uploading, embedding and disseminating on several platforms)
  • CREATE and then being able to COMMUNICATE- the ability to create and communicate your creation is one of the main characteristics of fluency
  • record, edit and then publish a movie that automatically posts to my blog
  • take an image…edit…then automatically post to my photo stream as well as embed into a blog post
  • work within several apps, then remix content from each one by being able to import them from one app to another.

In the first few weeks after the iPad deployment, we are concentrating on allowing students to test and explore a variety of apps, as well as work on that fluency piece. Here are a few examples of our lower elementary school students.

In first grade, students practiced their Hebrew letters in Doodle Buddy.

They then drew illustrations and learned about emailing the finished image to the teacher.

In second grade, we are helping students create an image, then saving it into the Photo Gallery (by an in-app function, via the built-in camera or taking a screenshot) and then edit and email that image to their teacher.

Yoel

Second graders were learning to introduce themselves in Hebrew. We decided to create an eBook with each student contributing their own page. Take a look at this post how to create a collaborative iPad book.

The image can be created in a drawing app, such as Doodle Buddy, or being taken with the iPad’s built in camera, then imported into Doodle Buddy to write or type over it.

By adding an International keyboard to the iPad, we were able to easily switch between the English and Hebrew letters.

Here were the instructions for our students, which we modeled by mirroring the iPad display via projector:

  1. Take an image with the built-in camera
  2. Go to Photo Gallery and edit if needed
  3. Go to Doodle Buddy app by finding the app icon or by searching for app by name
  4. Import image from Photo Gallery as background
  5. Choose a marker, color, thickness and write your name in Hebrew on the image
  6. E-mail the image to your teacher

We are realizing that after a few run throughs of creating- saving- sending, our students are picking the sequence up easily.  (The hardest part for these early elementary school students is to spell my name in the email correctly :)

We are also making it a point to have students explore the apps we have loaded on our iPads. As we are discussing, at the beginning of class, WHAT we want to CREATE, we are asking for input from the students:

  1. What app would be best suited (any alternatives)?
  2. The sequence from creating to saving and then the best way to share it with others (email, publish, classroom blog, etc.)

It is crystallizing itself clearly, that the iPad lessons are building on each other. The best success, I have been able to observe, is when students had explored an app in one class, worked with the app to create, in another class and finally pulled the sequence together for a larger project by remixing, sharing and collaborating.

What are some of the activities you do with your students to increase iPad fluency?