One of the things that I have noticed with my younger students is the lack of fear with technology. The younger students are more willing to push buttons on the iPad just to see what happens. Unlike older students and adults who want to know what the button does first. This is part of the reason I think people say “Younger kids are digital natives it’s just easier for them.” I don’t think that it is easier for them, I think it is more that they aren’t afraid to push buttons. To them that is all a part of the experience. Since they are mostly using the iPad as entertainment at home, seeing what the buttons do is part of the entertainment, especially if they do something funny.
I think that many times as adults we get so caught up in “doing” something in an app that we don’t give ourselves any time to explore what the app can do. One of the ways that I have introduced new apps is to give the students 10 minutes to explore with no direction. Occasionally I might give them a goal like “find out how to insert and edit pictures.” Then I give them time at after they have explored to show the whole class what they have found.
This technique solves several things. First, 18 students exploring will find things that neither the teacher nor I have ever seen. Second, the students become mini experts in what they have found. Third, the students are now less afraid to explore on their own in the future.
Many students continue this exploration at home either on their school iPad or with a personal one. Then they come back to school excited to show their class what they have found out. I think that as adults we should give ourselves time to explore when we find a new app, otherwise we can be quick to dismiss it.
Mischoko. “Deviant Art.” Set of Blue and White Circular Buttons/icons by Mischoko on DeviantArt. Deviant Art, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.