The children worked with the app Toontastic this week.  This app is very similar to PuppetPals.  The children create their own story through a puppet play.  The children can create their own background.  This really prompted creativity from the children.  The layout of Toontastic can be very hard for younger children to navigate, but it also leaves room for explaining the process of creating a story.  Though we do not have iPads for every child, it was very neat to see several children work on one story together.  The writing process and creativity was flowing readily during literacy centers.  The children were laughing and enjoying creating stories, and they had some fantastic products.  The biggest negative for Toontastic is saving and sharing.  The actual "saving" point in the app is at the end of the process.  The children click through each part of creating the story, and when they are done, the app has the children provide a title name and author.  It is very difficult for the children to create an entire story in the small time frame we are doing literacy centers.  In order to save the product, the child must exit out of what they are doing, create a title, and then type in their name.  It is possible, but it is a very difficult process for such a fast-moving day.  Like with StoryKit, Toontastic has its own website for saving and viewing.  This makes it really hard to share products with parents and anyone else who may be interested in seeing the products.  The children seemed to love Toontastic, and this is my favorite app for creating stories that we have tested so far.
    This week the children used the iPads in a couple different ways.  They enjoyed making Valentine's Day cards for their parents.  Not only could they write a sweet message, but the children also recorded their voices and put in a picture of themselves.  The cards could be sent to the parents for a nice Valentine's Day surprise.  Closer to the end of the week, the children used the app Doodlecast.  Doodlecast is a lot like StoryKit.  The children can choose either a blank template, or a pre-made template with questions for the children to answer.  Some children wrote about what they like to do in the park while others wrote about their favorite foods.  One thing that Doodlecast does provide is the questions for children to answer.  This gives them a sort of story line to follow rather than trying to come up with something on their own.  Rachel Adamsky worked with the children on the beginning, middle, and end of their stories.  This is a great skill to begin to develop at such a young age.  It is amazing how fast the students pick up concepts.  The one problem with Doodlecast is that the voices record the entire time.  There is a pause button, but it does not record the drawing during the paused time; it just shows up.  The children tend to ramble when they do not have a known script or focus.  Unless reminded, children forget the beginning focus and what used to be their favorite food, turns into a story about playing outside that day.  Mrs. Frederick's class enjoyed Doodlecast, and we will continue working in this app throughout next week.  Another perk is that the Doodlecast saves into the "Photos" part of the iPad.  This allows the final product to be sent through e-mail or uploaded in the same way that regular pictures would be uploaded.  As we work with the students in Doodlecast this week, some of their finished products will be posted for viewing.
    During February, the students will be working on writing stories in literacy groups.  When the children get time at the iPads, they will be working in one of several apps.  This past week the children continued working in StoryKit.  I will post some of these with links to some of the children's examples.  The children did a great job drawing, writing, and talking about their stories.  Mrs. Frederick and I were surprised to see that the children made StoryKits even when they were not asked to do so.  This shows that the children really enjoyed using this app.  We will use DoodleCast, Puppet Pals, and Toontastic throughout the course of the month.  The children will learn about creating their own stories.  Some of the apps guide children through the writing process.  I am excited to see which apps the children most enjoy and which impact learning the most.  This week we got new iPads in Mrs. Frederick's Kindergarten.  There are now six iPads.  It is very exciting to see the use of technology grow and how it is impacting teaching and learning.  Here are a few of the StoryKits the children created.  Copy and paste the link into a new window.  To hear the child's voice, click on the
Mary Cole:
Mrs. Frederick:
    This week we kicked off the start of this project by using StoryKit.  Each child created a page using the app.  Mrs. Frederick and I are now working on a way to get all of these combined into some sort of presentation.  Many of the apps take time to get used to, but the children adapted very quickly.  I gave a few quick instructions, and the children were off to work!  The task was to draw, write, and talk about yourself.  The children could choose anything that described themselves.  It could be a favorite food, thing to do, place to be, or even person.  About half of the children chose to draw ice cream.  It seems the class has quite the sweet tooth!  They also drew about their families, activities, and even pets at home.  The iPads provided a fun way for the children to express themselves and tell a little about themselves while drawing.  This is a free app.  There is also an app called Doodlecast that does something very similar.  Doodlecast records the entire time that the child draws, and there is no text box for the children to type in.  Doodlecast has much easier uploading capabilities, but it does cost $0.99.  As I observed throughout the week, I noticed the children used the iPads during centers.  Though Mrs. Frederick was working with small groups, when I came anywhere near the children, I noticed they were on task and in an educational app.  My biggest fear about the iPads was having to constantly direct children into an app that was not a game, but they did a fantastic job using apps that had them practicing letters, words, and sentences.  Our first app project was pretty successful, and hopefully we will be able to make a presentation out of their stories to share with everyone.


    My name is Kaitlin Ashley.  I am a few hours away from being a senior at the University of North Alabama.  This blog will be about researching the impacts of iPads in the kindergarten teaching and learning environment.  It will follow this process from the very beginning, and it will keep everyone up-to-date on what is going on in Mrs. Frederick's Kindergarten class.


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