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iPads for kindergartners?

I subscribe to Edweek.org’s “Digital Directions” newsletter and read an article about the use of iPads with kindergarnters. A school district in Maine is advocating for more iPads in kindergarten classrooms. Critics point out that there is little research to demonstrate the effects of such technology (positive or negative) on early childhood learning. Also, some fear that valuable social experiences will decrease as technology increases its presence in the classroom. On the other hand, advocates claim that it is a tool for expression and creation, like a marker and many other items found in kindergarten classrooms.

I must admit that when I saw the title, my first reaction was kindergartners? It does seem like a young age to be using iPads, but when viewed as another resource in the toolkit of an early childhood educator it begins to make more sense. Also, because it utilizes a touch screen it seems like it would be perfect for young children! I guess it depends on how you perceive the role of technology in the classroom. Is it just another tool, or is it replacing teaching and social learning?

Read the original article here iPad Use Among Kindergartners Sparks Debate.

Categories: Miscellaneous, Technology
  1. May 5, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    I have a two-and-a-half year old, and he loves playing with the iPad, and my Android phone. I think the touch interface makes it very easy for him. He knows how to navigate through the menus, and open his games (not to mention avoid ads).

    I tried to teach him to use a computer with a mouse and touchpad, but he still doesn’t quite understand it. I think the iPad is a very valuable learning tool, but like everything else, it should be used with moderation.

    • May 5, 2011 at 9:48 pm

      Agreed. I was thinking of it this way…. no one is worried about introducing a textbook or set of flashcards that will forever distract students. These are just additional tools to aid in the educational process. For example, when I had my own classroom we used the overhead, computers, whiteboards, notecards, notebooks, textbooks, markers (I could go on forever). Everything was used in moderation because it had its own purpose and value for the task at hand. I think people like to polarize technology in the classroom.

  2. Natasha Jacobs
    May 7, 2011 at 10:19 am

    At the cognition level, how is the iPad different from pointing to pictures and words in a picture book? The feedback (teacher or parent’s answer, reward, or try again suggestion)is (1)immediate and could still be praised by an adult and (2)could motivate the child to “choose your own adventure” in terms of where the result leads.

  3. May 13, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Digital learning isn’t just a trend, for many underdeveloped areas of the world (about 70% of human population), it’s a necessity.

    See the UNESCO Latin America proposal for “Quality Education in a Digital Age.”

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