Saturday, December 18, 2010

Managing applications; OR, how to keep kids on task when using the iPad.

I love the folders that were available with the Nov. 2010 update. To make a folder all you have to do is drag one apps picture onto another. You can rename the folder as needed. I have put the apps that are focused on abc's together and named it abc's of course. I also I have math, +math, words and +words to help kids find the apps that they will be successful with. The words apps work on sounding out words or writing them. The +words apps work on more complicated spellings.  The math folder has simpler counting apps while the +math has addition, subtraction and money apps.

I also have a game folder; the students can only chose to use games during choice time. If they use a game during learning time they lose iPads for the week. I've only had one child test that so far and he was not happy when I enforced the consequence. He hasn't done that again either.  Having games has been a huge motivator for the students; if they have lost any playtime minutes (my management system- after a warning about a behavior if they continue they lose 5 minutes of playtime) they don't get a turn on the iPad that day.  The kids who were continually losing playtime have shown a marked improvement since we got the iPads.  They do not want to risk losing the chance to use the iPad.

Even with the folders I specify which apps can be used during "learning" or "center" time. While there are many good apps I want to be sure that the kids are working on specific skills during our work time.  The dock (the gray bar that stays on the bottom of the screen) holds six apps that will be visible when the home button is pushed.  I put the "best" of my educational apps here- the ones I currently have on the dock:
Literacy:  pocket phonics, iwritewords, makeaword, montessori crosswords
Math: Park Math, 123 tracer

The other apps I may ask kids to use frequently are not in folders, instead they are on the "homepage".  For example, I have StoryBuddy, Montessori Numbers, MathAliens abcLetters, dtdnumwiz, Teach Me Kindergarten, iplay&sing, ABC Magnetic Land HD, and several book apps: Seuss ABC, Pop Out Peter Rabbit, Meegenius, and xmas tale.

The best feature of the iPad is it's ease of use for little guys.  The home button quickly takes them back to all the choices on the dock or homepage.  The apps start up quickly as well.

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