I do think tablets are a game changer for education. Moreover I think the rules for early childhood education will change the most. No longer having access tied up in a mouse or keyboard cord.
When I watch my 3 year old, or any toddler on an iPad, I am just amazed. They have access to a wealth (that is if they are lucky enough to be born in a family with enough wealth) of information and literacy practices.
The possibilities are endless. I just hope to highlight three: science ed, music ed, and writing.
In pre-school my son is currently studying the solar system. It just happens to be one of the topics he latched on to with a passion. Its one of what James Gee so aptly titled an “island of knoweldge” for my son.
John has recently become enamored with the iLearn Solar Systems app on the ipad. There is information about each planet and satellite. John skips over these and goes right to the quizzes. Over time he has tried enough that he starts to remember some of the esoteric facts. All this to hear an animated alien make the most annoying sound in the Milky way.
When John and I were traveling on the train he wrote his first song using Garage Band. We discussed how all music is patterns. He created a song with a violin, cello, guitars. The pattern he chose was more alphabetical than musical. John then added some drums. I lost the song he made, and boy do those multitrack songs eat up memory.
Luckily today though he didn’t want to sing a song. Just wanted to JAM.
In early childhood writing instruction usually revolves around three basic components. Letter formation, inventive writing through drawing, and oral language. I use an app called magnetic alphabet for John to practice his oral storytelling. This is turn will help to improve not only his writing but also his reading compehension (I also use the app to practice onsets and rimes and phoneme manipulation but that is for another post). In the meantime enjoy the tale of the buses versus the garbage truck.