iPads Adding to Westminster College Preschool Experience

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Westminster College Psychology Preschool Lab has been experimenting with iPads in their curriculum this academic year. The devices can allow children to create multi-media portfolios that demonstrate their abilities, progress, and to further encourage engaged learning. The Psychology department purchased the technology as part of their ongoing efforts to enhance technology in education.

AV Director, Gary Swanson, introduced the device to the preschool students during their "Circle Time" at the beginning of their day back in October. Swanson gauged how many of them had previous experience with it, outlined basic use, and covered how to care and safely use the popular Apple tablet.
"Most all of the children were familiar with the iPad, and many had used one previously. The intuitive design and ability to interact through touch allows them to explore and quickly develop skills with a variety of applications, and they have fun doing it." Swanson explained.

"We are just starting to use the iPad in class with small groups of children or one-on-one and have only played around with the apps thus far," said Deborah Roud, teacher in the Westminster College Psychology Preschool Lab.  Eventually, the device could be used to collect multi-media portfolios for each child that would consist of student work displaying their skills and academic growth. With a multi-media approach, teachers and students can put together a collection of work not limited to paper.
"The iPad addresses child's individual learning style because they have opportunity to listen to stories, dance to music, touch the screen for small motor skill development and visually see new experiences," said Roud" 
The iPad will also allow for tracking of students' skill development and improvement. Apps will enable documentation through audio and video recordings, pictures and text.
"It also allows students with special needs to enhance their skills. With the iPad, all learners are able to accomplish and maybe even exceed expectations at their own pace and ability," Roud added.
This ongoing collaboration is part of the Audio Visual and Westminster College Psycholoy Preschool Lab's effort to enhance learning through technology, employing technologies within the existing preschool curriculum.
For more information on this implementation contact Deborah Roud at (724) 946-7174 or roudds@westminster.edu.

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