Yet another update from my travels around the Early Years settings in the device project. I had the pleasure of visiting St Peter’s CE Primary school in Brotton where the teacher has decided to leave the two iPods and two iPads on a table as an “area”. The children have simple rules to follow in that they are not allowed to move the devices elsewhere in the classroom unless working with an adult. This may seem an odd rule for devices that are designed to be mobile but in the context of a busy EYFS setting it makes perfect sense….and works too from what we’ve seen.
You can see an interesting trend in the picture, something I’ve seen in every setting so far. The iPads are used almost exclusively on the desk whereas the iPods are picked up and brought closely to the child’s face. It doesn’t seem to matter if children are working alone or several together, this pattern seems the constant across the project. What also seems to be the case is that children are very happy to watch while they wait their turn. The teacher felt that in the case of the devices, “polite” turn taking was more likely than with other resources in the setting (not that the setting was in any way a riot!). I have sen now in almost all of the settings this pattern emerge. Children are intrigued about what is happening and are happy to wait their turn as they can watch in the meantime. What I also see in these situations is a lot of pupil interaction, focussed on what is happening in the app. For example, when a child completes a task they will often have a quick chat with the others who are watching about what they have just done.
The children had mainly used phonic type games, Hairy Letters being a favourite but also the story books were popular. I have seen the FW Animals app used everywhere I’ve been so far, the letters are named rather using sounds and with an american accent at that but the children have consistently told me that they are looking at matching the letters rather than listening to what it is saying.
Unfortunately I had to leave after a half an hour but Mrs J stayed for a while longer and sent me an excited email later. She had seen a girl using Morfo independently. I know the teacher had used it previously as a guided task to bring characters from storybooks to life, the children supplying the voices, but she was amazed to see a child doing it herself. I must admit, I have seen this several times before, if a child is shown, 1:1, which buttons do what, they often remember how to then do it themselves. They don’t read what the button says they just know where it is, like they have an internal map of the screen memorised for each step of the process. I think we need to explore this further in other contexts.
Mrs J assures me she has video of this and I will be posting it once we get sorted. She also got a video of a child adding a background to GlowDraw (which I can’t wait to see because I didn’t know you could do that) which I need to find out if it was demonstrated first by an adult.