Minimal Apps, Tons Of Learning

Do you really need 50 plus apps on a student device? I have made it a point to keep apps to a minimum this year. As second graders, my students have had the iPad device for two years before they entered my room. Having experienced the iPad in all aspect of their day and learning process for two years, what new learning would they possibly get from the device? When I rolled out the iPad devices to my students this year, we had lots of cheers and excited kids. The room was full of chatter, some of the comments were, ” yeah game time!” ” I can’t wait to play on them!” I was trying not to show disappointment, I was hoping to hear, “we finally get to use our learning tool” and “cool learning apps.” But nope, most of the students saw it as a gaming device. I knew I had to change their mindset. When I handed them out we talked about digital citizens and learning tools and respect of learning devices. I still had kids saying, “I just want to play games.” To the kids disappointment, I kept the apps simple. Here is what their devices looked like.

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When they touched the home button for the first time. They tried to scroll through multiple pages. Nope, it was just one. More comments came, “where are all of our games” “we don’t have enough fun stuff to play with.” My reply was simple, “our devices will help us learn and look at learning as a creation.” So we are now half way through the year and we have only added 2 apps. Place value and fresh pick. Keeping the apps minimal but powerful has allowed my students to become creators and thought leaders in their learning journey. Almost all of the apps I use, are either workflow apps or highly customizable apps that allow for individualization. The other type of app that the students rely on heavily are the ones like Educreations, Book Creator and the camera app. These three allow the students to create and document their work as they see fit. My students are making the transformation of their educational thought process and implementing the device into their day! Minimal apps, but powerful content creation apps are allowing my students to grow and use voice and choice in their learning journey.

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