My students are 6 years old. They are energetic (13 boys / 7 girls). They are active. They can be loud. They are creative. They are impatient. They are sweet. They are demanding. They love to learn! They deserve to be provided the opportunity to learn in a way that is best for each of them in each circumstance. Often, but not always this involves using a screen of some sort.
- We listen to authors and illustrators tell about their trades online, again we also look at paper books and have real authors/illustrators visit (though usually only once per year as it can be difficult to arrange)
- We communicate with other classes to share our learning on google hangout and Skype. We have also used the 'snail mail' to communicate and arranged a face to face visit at our school with a couple other grade one classes from our district.
- We share our learning and tell our story on our own blogs. Yes, this takes a commitment of time for grade ones to learn keyboarding and build the skills to navigate the blogging platform, but students help each other out of necessity (and a desire to share their story). Read hear about my first experience with Kidblog last year. We are currently loving the Draw&Tell app for the flexibility to add photo and voice at the same time. Students also have paper writing books that they record their thoughts in.
- We teach each other how to use the new tools whether they are digital or otherwise.
- We use manipulatives to build and explore mathematical relationships and then students can record their learning on the iPads.
- We use drawing apps to create art, but we also use a lot of paint, play dough, plasticicene, paper and glue, fabric etc.
I believe the answer is different for every classroom and each teacher and each student. It is about balance and choice. It is about knowing your students. It is about taking risks and learning along side students. It is exploring. It is asking questions. It is using the tools available to you. There are many screens in my classroom, but I am always questioning the purpose of using them.
I would love to hear your opinions on the issue of screens.