I thought it might be useful to share the proposal I wrote for the iPad grant for next year. Sometimes is helps to have language to work with if you are doing this yourself...
Enriching the Kindergarten Program with Technology – iPads as Educational Tools
Technology Innovation Grant
Description of Project
Use iPads to create collaborative small group activities in Kindergarten that engage three learning modalities: visual, auditory and kinesthetic.
The learning styles and needs of young children require tactile, visual, and auditory experiences. Young children need practice and repetition with the many concepts that are part of pre-reading and early math learning. Kindergarteners gain from working together, guided by a teacher, and yet they also need the leeway to work at their own individual speed and developing skill level. Based on the experiences of educators in this country and around the world, we would like to implement iPads as a learning device that can provide unique and rich learning experiences for this age group.
Use seamless technology that is a manageable size and involves minimal distractions.
The intuitive quality of the iPad, with its manageable size and touch screen operation, makes it a tool that students learn to use quickly and easily. This allows teachers and students to focus on content and activities, rather than on the technology. An iPad starts up in approximately thirty seconds, has an eight hour battery life, and is lightweight enough for a small child to handle it. This makes it an easy tool to work with throughout the school day without frustration or failure.
Purchase a set of 10 student iPads and 6 teacher iPads for this pilot program.
We propose to purchase 16 iPads along with relevant educational applications. This will provide a set of ten iPads to share between the two Kindergarten classrooms for student use. Along with the ten iPads for classroom use, we are including one for Jenni Voorhees, the Lower School Technology Director, as Administrator of the project, and one for Merry Adelfio, the Lower School Math Coordinator, to use to develop math curricular activities throughout the school year, and one for each of the four Kindergarten Teachers.
Use the summer to train teachers and plan the integration of iPads in the current Kindergarten curriculum.
During the summer, the four Kindergarten teachers will work with Jenni Voorhees, the LS Technology Director, and Merry Adelfio, the LS Math Coordinator, to explore the applications currently made for this age group, learn from schools currently implementing iPads, and design a curriculum plan to integrate iPads for small group work beginning in the fall of 2011.
Curricular Context and Rationale
We propose to follow the lead of many schools in this country and around the world that are effectively using iPads as tools for learning in early elementary programs. Until now, SFS kindergarteners only have access to technology through their teacher’s use of digital cameras and the classroom SmartBoards. The iPad offers an opportunity to enhance our students’ learning with the direct and effective use of an easy to use and highly interactive technology tool. Although iPads are relatively new to schools, there are many examples of successful integration of iPads in elementary grades. Please see the list of resources below and at the end of this proposal.
The iPad as a Learning Tool
Students will be able to work in multiple modalities (tactile, visual, and auditory) that will motivate them to practice new concepts and enhance their ability to share their thinking and learning. The applications written for this age group include immediate feedback that motivates either correcting mistakes or moving forward to new challenges.
Here are just a few examples of ways in which the current curricular goals in Kindergarten can be individualized, met and enhanced with the use of the iPad.:
· Early literacy experiences with sound-symbol connections and recognition
· Shaping letters and numbers in the correct form: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6krGGSpanFo&feature=related
· Voice recording capabilities to facilitate storytelling, creating class-made audio books in the reading corner, and sharing a student’s thinking about a project or drawing.
· Drawing programs with a wide range of tools that can be managed with a fingertip
· Early reading experiences with books or with phonics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZTkPtAyqOY&NR=1
· Math concepts presented with immediate feedback, and appropriate expectations http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wmzp60mcMhQ&feature=player_embedded (This video provides an overview of a variety of appropriate applications)
In addition, teachers will be able to develop a digital portfolio of student work to share with parents, creating a clearer and more comprehensive view of the child and his/her progress in school.
The iPad as Age-Appropriate Technology
The iPad’s design enables collaborative group experiences because as a slate, it has a more open format than a laptop. It is also light and, with only one navigation button, it is less complicated for younger children to manage. The tactile experience of touching the screen directly with a finger is age appropriate for younger children and eliminates the confusion of using a mouse or a keyboard.