Breaking from the traditional teaching mold, Kyrene de la Estella Elementary School recently introduced iPads into three of its kindergarten class as tools for exceeding classroom activities and furthering the Kyrene Teaches with Technology Plan (KTTP) 2.0.

The three kindergarten classes were selected to pilot the program by filling out an application indicating their interest in participating within KTTP 2.0.

Michael Lamp, principal, sat down with the technology specialist for their region to look over the applications together to see which were most prepared to take on the new program.

“We were looking for teams that collaboratively worked together, that weren’t fearful of the technology… It was based on an application process and kindergarten was one of them,” Lamp said. “We want to make sure that our youngest kids are getting wowed by stuff because it can roll on up.” He added that the kindergarten level was also the first ones to be selected for the inaugural installment of KTTP, which integrated laptops in the classrooms.

The three kindergarten classrooms piloting the new program were given 10 iPads, and each class shares them while one class is doing different activities.

Students use the iPads during two different periods: once during the morning, using the application Wixie for a reading, writing learning block, and during the afternoon where they use Dreambox for different mathematic activities.

During the reading and writing learning block, Havens’ students work on the iPads to complete a habitat project, where they began learning about different snakes from books they have read.

Students began creating the habitat within the iPad by pasting different pictures onto a blank canvas, adding informational text and voice over to be shown to the entire class after its completion.

They also seemed completely infused during the process of working off their iPads, as they shared their work in between their classmates.

Students also help one another out while working on the iPads, bouncing off different creative ideas among one another making class time that much more enjoyable.

Kindergarten teacher Natalie Havens believes the students have been responding well to having iPads in the classroom, and feels the new technology further enhances the learning experience by adding to traditional ways of learning.

Havens said her students continue to use traditional learning such as reading informative books, and while they create their projects on the iPads they use the books as references to gather additional information to be used.

She feels that her students are completely comfortable accessing the different options within the applications of Wixie and Dreambox, and says the ultimate higher-level-thinking goal is to create a project to show what they know.

“It expands their resources and tools to express themselves in pictures and words. Being able to record their voice captures who they are at this moment,” Havens said.

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