Prior to the emergence of m-technology, students were required to type out the website addresses they wanted to access. This led to longer wait times for accessing webpages as it took awhile for students to find the letters on the keyboard or students were required to re-type their hyperlinks due to missing or mixed up addresses. In order to assist grade one and two students with this task, I would create HTML pages in Word using a picture cue which would take students to the desired technology activity. This became very helpful and students who independently find the websites they needed during our technology periods and free time. I still use a similar technique for older students, but instead of using picture cues, I will categorize websites by core subjects and will provide key descriptions of the websites they want to access.
Since the introduction of iPads in our classroom, students no longer need to access websites solely from the computer (on a side note, they still do and I do think it’s important they know both skills for using technology). Some of our favourite websites have apps that can be used to access content. I find this very handy as both an educator and as a parent for its portability function (we can take our iPad anywhere with us) and for it’s convenience of simple log-in/access. We use our iPads for center time and students are assigned tasks to be completed. This could be reviewing letter sounds through the Starfall app, listening to books on the RAZ Kids app or writing a blog post through a Kidblog account. It’s an alternative way to provide students with access to websites other than through a computer.
Not to mention, mobile apps allow students to create content in a personalized way (see blog post on productivity and creation apps). Students can choose a mobile app that will allow them to present information in a way they feel best represents their learning whether it be audio, video or a mixed content. Their preferred apps for creation are Sock Puppets, PuppetPals HD, Toontastic, Stop-motion and iMovie. Examples of projects using mobile apps are newscasts depicting current events in India/Tunisia/Peru/Ukraine and animating short stories from drafted story plans. Here are two examples of student created projects using creation apps:
Apps allow students to access a variety of activities formally accessed on a computer. Some of the apps have been simplified to ensure students can access and utilize them more easily. The opportunities for learning are just as endless as laptop computing, but more portable, so learning can be more easily recorded in any of the classroom spaces/environments. These are just some of the reasons why I love mobile apps and learning.