iPads aren’t for Everyone

bird nest

Okay, so another teaching assignment change for me… Just had teacher librarian added to the mix. I’ll still be teaching Kindergarten one day a week, but I’ll now be in the library three days a week and vice principal one day a week. Phew! Just writing all that made me tired!

I took on the teacher librarian role as an opportunity to collaborate with all the enrolling teachers at my school and as a way to really get to know all the students. I also was excited about the ability to integrate technology during our classes’ library times.

While I know that technology is to be used as a tool for teaching and isn’t a magic solution to all children’s learning needs, I have never really experienced students not wanting to use technology!

Well, in come a group of 4th graders and I excitedly revealed to them that I would be pulling out the iPad cart for them to find more information on the different birds we read about. My announcement was followed by cheers and clapping; they could not wait to get their hands on the iPads! After searching on Google for a few minutes, one student nervously asked, “Are we allowed to go on YouTube?” Me: “Uh, yes, of course!” The library suddenly was filled with bird song and a lot of sharing. We watched videos of robins hatching, a warbler singing, a sparrow building a nest, and many more. So much engaged learning was happening! I was about to pat myself on the back, for a job well done, but then beyond the sea of happily engaged students I spied a group of boys on the carpet at the back of the library… with no iPad… and they were not talking about birds!

Me: “Boys, do you want an iPad?”
Boy 1: “No, I don’t like iPads?”
Me: “Well have you used one before?”
They all nodded and sneered in my general direction, not wanting to make any eye contact.
Me (totally thrown off and not sure where to go with this awkward situation): “Okay… Uh, hmm…”

And then it dawned on me, we were in… A LIBRARY!!
“Do you want to look at books about birds?”
They all nodded eagerly and stood up. I then skipped over to the 598 section (yes, I am becoming a Dewey Decimal System Master!), showed them where the bird section was and they happily looked at the books until the end of their library time… engaged in learning.

Now that was unexpected! The boys looking at books were just as engaged in their learning as their classmates who were using iPads. This was a big reminder that technology isn’t for everyone and it is just another option as we differentiate instruction for our students. Forcing every student to use technology to learn and present their learning is just as ineffective as forcing every student to all use pencil and paper and books in the library!

Oh, and in case you are curious, here are some of the bird videos these students found. Welcome spring!
Robins Hatching

Sparrow Building a Nest

Warlber Singing

One thought on “iPads aren’t for Everyone

  1. Great point made here! Technology gets a lot of praise these days (and it should), however some things are better (or more enjoyable/more suitable) done the “ol’ fashioned way”! Wonderful example of the use of high tech, and the use of low tech options. I, personally, still love to read a book from paper cover to paper cover…although, I do love surfing the web for info too. So, if I have preferences about how I learn, why wouldn’t our students?!

    This example of ‘low tech’, ‘old fashioned’ book learning also reminds me of how much I enjoy many aspects of face to face interactions that can’t be replaced with text messaging, tweeting, blogging, etc. Each truly has it’s time and place, in my opinion. Again, I admit, I love texting, Tweeting, and Facebooking, but there have been times that I have felt relationships start to change because of the lack of personal connection in purely digital exchanges.

    We are in a time of change and growth, so I believe we need to find the best of all options, for each of us and each of our students. Thanks for sharing your experience!

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