To iPad or not to iPad?

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The introduction of the iPad in 2010 marked significant steps in the development of tablet computing and mobile devices in education. Their intuitive touch screen interface, portability and extended battery life make them an appealing option for students of all age levels.

In this pilot investigation, the authors observed how two early childhood services (one kindergarten and one childcare centre) used iPads to extend the range of learning opportunities they offer for children up to five years old. The centres involved provide a varied curriculum guided by children’s interests and adults’ provocations.

There is a history of the integrated use of digital technologies for teaching and learning purposes and in both cases a catalyst for this has been the centre leaders who have a strong interest and competence in information and communication technologies. The thoughts and recommendations shared are gleaned from the authors’ on-site observations at the two centres as well as discussions with both teachers and children about the use and value of the iPad.

Key findings: 

This small-scale investigation would indicate that there are benefits to iPads in early childhood education when integrated into the everydayness of an early childhood curriculum in a centre with a strong teaching pedagogy.

Both teachers and children were overwhelmingly positive in regarding iPads as part of the centre environment. In these two centres it would seem that the iPad contributed to a rich curriculum of learning.