Learning to Play

Mrs J and myself have just visited a primary school to cast an eye over how the teachers feel they are getting on exploring the use of ipods and ipads. The project runs for this term and has placed 2 ipods and 2 ipads in the EYFS of five schools. The focus is loosely to look at how the devices support CLL but also to assess how the devices fit into the setting. Which is better for which sort of task? Which apps are the most helpful for different tasks? Which apps need creating!? We hope to have as many questions as answers by the end of the project.

Our first setting visit was really interesting. The reception class were using an ipad in small groups led by a teacher with a TA support. The children made a small composter from a plastic bottle. The ipad related task was to record the steps to making the composter and turn it into a story for Nursery to watch. The first example is below:

What emerged for me was that the use of the pad helped to focus the children on the task. The physical task was mainly taken outside, the children then came back in to make the actual video. The app they used was Storyrobe, which is a fantastic way of sequencing any set of videos or photos with a voice over. The fact that the children were reviewing the steps that they had just done was also an added benefit. It was lovely to see the children using very logical language, e.g., “after that, finally…” to structure the overall piece.

We then moved to the younger end of the EYFS where the children were using the devices for adult directed tasks. The teacher spoke about the children playing with the devices and that is maybe the important progressive step before using them for more structured tasks in the older end of the setting. They use the book apps, Little Red Riding Hood and the Going to Bed Book is popular too. One child was using Draw Stars whilst sat with a TA:

Note the language interaction between the child and the adult, he describes how some of them “get bigger” and he controls his device by shaking to start again. He needs to be shown how to restart the game when he accidentally comes out of it. It is interesting to watch him almost feel the texture of the stars and try to manipulate the way that they spin. I showed the video to the teacher in the room and she remarked that that child in particular had difficulty with fine motor control. Interesting after watching the clip….

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