Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Stockholm iPad project

I work at Årstakolan in Stockholm where we have an ongoing project using iPads as an ICT resource. My school sent an application to the city applying for iPads specificlly for elementary school students to be used as a tool for reading comprehension learning. Our idea came from a Norwegian idea where studies had shown that levels of reading comprehension increased when students used the iPad to type their texts instead of focusing on their writing by hand. The idea was that they will learn to read at a faster pace by first and foremost developing their fonteical knowledge of letters.
The brilliance of the iPad is the immediate response. Students can create words, letters and sounds without holding a pen. The result is that first grade students have the ability to read earlier with the help of the iPad that can also read the text back to them.  By using the iPad as the writing tool, we have seen the results that the comprehension over text increases and their knowledge of letters is cemented. The students also worked with illustrations to their text which motivated the students to challenge themselves in reading and also producing a greater amount of written production.
However, I am a secondary school teacher working only with grades 7-9.  I searched the internet to find how working with iPads would be helpful for me to have the similar idea and effect with my students. I found that iPads were rarely used for this age group and that not much has been attempted in this direction. My idea was to help them with their artistic interpretation of literary writing. My goal was to develop their skills to focus on the potential reader of their productions, aiming to motivate them into finding their own voice.
We started out by reading a book, aimed for this age group, with the theme of life and all its difficulties. After reading and analyzing the book, they were asked to write short stories on themes such as fear, childhood memories, bullying and love. To present their work they made a short film with voiceover, reading their own text. The results were brilliant. Students worked hard connecting imagery to the message of their story. I have never seen students this engaged in presenting their work to an actual reader.
When finished, the films were published on the school’s own website and they are now open for public viewing.