Here in Texas, it's a rainy day at summer camp! I'm using the gray skies as an excuse for staying at the computer to learn and blog.
Today we're going to talk about another way to use the iPad if you only have one...LEARNING CENTERS! (If you've been reading this blog all along, you already know that I love using work stations as a way to actively engage young learners!)
BEFORE you place the iPad at a learning center, you'll want to train your students in iPad procedures. Nobody wants to see a broken iPad! Here are a few suggested rules.
- Hold the iPad with BOTH hands
- Leave the iPad at the table (if it stays at the center), OR
- Use walking feet when you carry the iPad (if your station requires them to move around)
- Only clean, dry hands touch the iPad
- Only one student holds the iPad (unless the iPad is remaining on the table)
- Only one student controls the iPad
- Stay seated
- Take turns
You may want to cut a rectangle out of shelf liner and place that on the table at your center. It will provide a slip-proof surface and prevent arguments about who gets to hold the iPad. The students can change seats to take turns with it, while the iPad remains stationary and safe.
There are so many apps available to be incorporated in your learning center. Here is an excellent, extensive list of apps from the Texas Computer Educators Association. Be sure to use the slider bars on the right side and the bottom of the screen to see all that's available.
I suggest that when you use the iPad at a center, you make a task card, including a photo of the app's icon (so students can find it on the desktop), the app's name (so they can search for it, if needed), and the instructions for the learning activity.
Here are free iPad task cards. They are Powerpoint files, so that you can edit them, if needed.
And here are even more free iPad learning center task cards. Tech Chef 4 U has a task card for each level of Bloom's taxonomy, described here and available as an ePub in the iTunes store, Hot Apps 4 HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills. Free.
Once you put the iPad at a center, you'll need to be prepared to clean the screen. Do not use any liquid! You knew that, right? Our school district uses microfiber cloths to wipe the screen. Cloths like this.
They are soft, not abrasive like terry cloth. You can find them at discount stores (like Target or Walmart) or at office supply stores.
Consider buying a protective case like the Otter Box for your iPad. It covers the screen (just in case someone still has catsup on their fingers after lunch), and it protects the iPad from impact if it's accidentally dropped.
Yes, it's another $49, but it's worth it to protect your iPad investment! This is what we use in our district for iPad protection.
Are you ready to include your iPad in your library centers next year? Find a task card that you like from the choices I gave you, and put it in your summer camp scrapbook. Keep it handy for next year!