I've been using iPads (mini ones) in Nursery for two terms now.
I like them a lot!
My TA's like them as well...to quote just one positive comment..."you can't let the children have their dummies in class, but it doesn't matter anymore because the iPads work better."
The children like them best of all...
I've modelled all sorts of educational stuff, but to be honest it's hard work getting anyone to do anything other than play Temple Run on them...even the TA's (I jest...we're actually recording all of our observations and assessments on them...more of this another time).
One of the objectives in Development Matters is for children to know that books and computers can be used to retrieve information. This is quite easy to model for the children, and every now and again we have a 'google' session on the interactive whiteboard instead of story time. I follow their suggestions and we see what we can find out.
Last week I took delivery of a 'Lightning to VGA' adapter, which means I can connect the iPad to the whiteboard and speakers....playing Temple Run that big is seriously good fun!...anyway, once we got over that I could demonstrate how to search the internet on it. All went very well, and on the spur of the moment I decided to show them Siri....oops!
Some had heard Siri at home, but for many it was a new experience. Probably didn't help that my opening question for Siri was "what are you doing tonight?"..."I'm learning some new languages" came the response....bemused laughter all round...
Me : How old are you Siri?
Siri : I'm not allowed to answer that question
More bemused laughter...
Me : What is the worlds tallest mountain?
Siri : Let me think about this...laughter, and then up pops a little picture of Everest with some statistics...impressed 'wows', followed by 'can I have a go now?'
So, it's time to end the modelling and let the children take over. Following the children's ideas...that's what EYFS is all about!...slight nervousness on my part...had I overdone the humour or was my last question serious enough to keep things on the straight and narrow?
I hand the iPad on to a very sensible 4 year old....
Boy : Poo
Siri : Sorry, I didn't quite catch that?
Boy (louder) : Poo
Siri (displaying 'who' rather than 'poo' on screen) : Who, indeed?
Boy : Big poo
Siri : I make you unhappy?
So then, Siri has a sense of humour...
Boy : Big poo from my bottom
Siri : Let's keep it clean here, OK
Boy (looking embarrassed) : I always wipe it
Siri : I don't understand 'I always wipe it', but I could search the internet for it?
Whole class (including staff) totally lost it now....uncontrollable laughter and tears...
I've always enjoyed playing the class clown and being at the centre of all things humorous, but it seems that Siri, complete with his dry American sitcom delivery, is the new game in town.
It's now only a matter of time before the children start asking Siri serious questions, and discover that his knowledge is total, his patience endless, and that he only speaks when spoken to...then I'm finished!