Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Let Them Create!

It's not about the iPad, but what you do with the iPad.  There are definitely pockets of schools across the country implementing the use of iPads en masse.  Yet, that is more the exception than the rule.  So often, when speaking to educators it has come abundantly clear that classrooms are void of devices.  Most often, bring your own device is popular in high schools and some middle schools.  iPad carts are fairly popular in elementary and middle schools, allowing a classroom or two to utilize technology at a particular time.  Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten are the elementary grades I most often see being highlighted for using iPads in the classroom.

Technology integration should be happening as young as Pre-Kindergarten, and so I get pretty excited that this is occurring in schools across the country.  However, they are being used as expensive toys in most Kindergarten classrooms.  If we want more technology in the classroom, then we need to begin using the tech we get for more than consumption.  Don't get me wrong, consumption is important.  Many kiddos benefit from the educational games that help them practice rote skills.  And, the portable factor of an iPad makes research easier to occur; even for Kindergarten kiddos.  But we need to start having them create with the iPads. 

There are tools available that I have written about last week.  Most of these are fairly simple for kiddos as young as three to navigate.  Heck, my nephew was three years old when he first introduced me to Talking Tom.  Kiddos as young as three and four can click a button on the camera or memos apps.  Then can take take pictures or videos of their work and then upload it to Pinterest or Evernote. Adults are already scribing for them in primary classrooms, Pinterest portfolios could become another teacher station for scribing.  Yet, Evernote would allow them to do it all independently. 

The more we have kiddos creating content and posting it on the web, the more adept they'll become at using the tech tools.  In addition, they'll be learning the skills necessary for communicating online.  And if a kiddo is learning positive online skills at an early age, then they are more likely to continue that positive practice as they age; including the tumultuous teen years.   They won't know any different.  Ultimately, isn't that what we want, for our students to be effective communicators?  Then it's time we begin to integrate an array of tech tools at an early age.