Inside a kindergarten classroom with Augustana students

iPads vs. Physical Manipulatives

My partner and I have begun our research on when technology should be used as a supplement for Kindergarteners. We have begun pulling students aside to assess their success with the skill of balancing numbers on an iPad application and with a balancing scale that has a bucket on each side. Each student was able to successfully complete the physical lesson with manipulatives while the iPad proved to be difficult for a few students, which was our assumption in the beginning. As we have been working with our students, some have become frustrated or distracted using the iPad. We believe iPads may be too abstract for some of the students to work with. If a student has yet to master a skill, iPads and other technological supplements may impair them from gaining a proper understanding. It seems that once the students have mastered a skill, they can effectively practice their math with an iPad.

As I was working with one of the students she mentioned that she sometimes plays with the balancing scale during classroom free time. My partner and I have already created a parent survey to assess what, and how much, technology their children is exposed to at home. After the student mentioned her use of the scale, I began asking every other student if they have ever used the scale. It will be interesting to see if previous usage, even if it was just for simple play, seems to affect their success during our lessons. So far it does not seem to affect student achievement too drastically, besides teaching me in the beginning of our lesson how to initially balance the buckets ; )

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