Wednesday, 13 March 2013

About Choices 2

I'm still thinking about freedom of choice and our younger students. Over the last few weeks as the students have been finding out about living and nonliving things, we have been exploring the world around us with digital microscopes and the iPads. Our microscopes are DigiBlues that we hook up to our student MacBooks. We had some very close up looks at flowers, grass, leaves, sand, our fingers, caterpillars, worms, seed pods, aphids and our fingers again.


On our iPads we used 4 apps that simulate magnifying glasses. The DigiBlues, in my opinion, are fabulous but the apps just don't measure up - they don't offer the extreme magnification that we can get on the microscopes. I don't think it is the iPads fault in any way, it relies on the camera and camera zoom function so of course it is limited. The apps we tried were Mag.Light, Magnify HD, Magnifier and Magnificent:

This is what the children had to say when they were asked which they preferred to use when wanting to look at something close up:

In favour of the Microscopes:
- I can see it better, more clear and bigger
- It is easier for my eye
- It magnifies up to 10 million
- You can turn the handle till it is really nice
- It is easier to hold and you can see if the photos are working
- with microscopes we can see inside things 

In favour of the iPads:
- I can look at my own things
- I can hold it myself
- I can go outside
- The iPads are just more fun
- When I am done I can play games

Using Book Creator on the iPad

A very simple set of slides to illustrate the key things to get us started using Book Creator on the iPads. Our K2 team are going to create digital books with their students this year - very exciting!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Freedom to Choose 1

Freedom of choice
Is what you got
Freedom from choice
Is what you want

I’ve been thinking about freedom and choice today. Devo may not be the best song to quote on this blog post but it was the first thing to jump into my mind. If we leave out the rest of the song about dogs and bones and other things it does give us something to think about. When working with young children how much freedom do we give them? 

I’m thinking about this because I am in the middle of planning for some digital literacy explorations with our younger learners. When working with iPads schools have different approaches. Some schools hide all the apps on the iPads except for the ones they are using. Other schools put all the apps on the iPads but limits children to which page of apps they can access. I think we fall somewhere in the middle. I work with the children in small groups and I have planned explorations using an app or two. I invite the children to explore with me and when we feel that we have accomplished something the children are invited to explore their own favourite app/apps. I feel like I am giving the children some choice but perhaps not enough. Hmmm...