Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The key to easy iPad centers in Kindergarten

I use my iPads everyday in Kindergarten centers.  I started with two iPads and now I am at five, the perfect number for my centers.  I like the iPad mini for my little ones, but iPads work great as well.
When I had only two iPads I would rotate them with another center so the students had to take turns.  I set a timer and when the time was up the students switched out.  Sometimes, we did have two students on one iPad and they learned to share.  It can work!

I have a station table for iPads only, with a list of the student assignments.  You can get one by clicking here: Editable iPad Student Assignment

On occasion I do have to separate a student from the table so they will focus, but mostly the students love working together and talking about the app they are on.

I also number each iPad so students know what iPad they are assigned to.  Here is a link to the Wallpaper I use: IPAD Wallpaper

I give a through explanation of how to use the iPad to the class and then I go over it with a small group at my table, making sure each student knows the expectations.  I explain the volume control and the reason they have to stay in their seat.  They are not allowed to walk around with the iPad.  If they need help they are to raise their hand and wait.   Can be hard for a five year old, but when I tell them they will lose their turn on the iPad, they usually don't get up.

The most important thing that helps my centers is Guided Access.  It is a feature found on the iPad and it locks the app so student cannot visit any other apps.  Here is how you enable it.

1. Go to Settings
2. Click on General and scroll down until you see Accessibility.
3. Scroll down until you see Guided Access.  It is under the Learning Title.

4. Click on Guided Access and slide the button so it is on and showing green.

5. I set a passcode to enable and disable the Guided Access.  I find it helpful to enable the shortcut as well.  You can even put time limits on so they only can play for a set amount of time.

6. Go to the app you want the student to stay on and click the home button 3 times.  You will see this screen on whatever app you are on with the Guided Access Started Square:

7. When you want to end Guided Access you will have to click the home button 3 times and put in your passcode.  So if students click the home button too many times, they still won't be able to get out of the app without the passcode.

I choose a different app for the students to explore each week.  I preview the app and show them some of the cool features and what I want them to try and accomplish with the app.  They love the iPad station and I love the independence and key skills they are learning on it.

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