Using iPads to give children a better understanding of the world

When I was working with Year 2 earlier this year I wanted to use the iPads to enhance their learning of their topic of "Our School," and "Location, Location, Location." The topics link really nice to each other as they firstly learn about their immediate location, the school surroundings and the history of the school.

They then move from school, to local area, to country, to the world throughout the topic of 'Location, Location, Location.' I wanted to really try to use the iPads to compliment the topic but to also enhance the geography learning happening through these topics. So over a period of 6/7 weeks these were the lessons and the apps used to further the children's geography knowledge of the world.

Lesson 1 -  In the first lesson the children used iMovie and the trailer feature to make tours of the schools. I used the motive of making these trailers to show visitors and prospective parents of all the wonderful things we have at the school. Firstly as a class, we listed all the great things we have at the school and then the children had to change the text of the trailer using some of these ideas. The children split into two groups and walked around the school using the camera to film different parts. This was a good exercise for the children to really familiarise themselves with the school grounds.

Class 2A School Tour videos using iMovie from Davyhulme Primary School on Vimeo.

Lesson 2 -  In this lesson we introduced the wonderful app 'Google Earth,' We discussed the "birds eye view" we see on Google Earth and how useful this app can be to see sights from around the world that we may not be able to otherwise see from using satellites.
The class were given time to try and find their house and other places they wanted to find. Some looked at the Trafford Centre others tried to find where they stayed on holiday in the Summer. Once they had familiarised themselves with the app, I asked them to take a screen shot of our school by holding the lock and home button together.
I then asked them to use the app 'Skitch,' to then label the different parts of our school from the birds eye view. It was asking the children to think very carefully about the location of parts of the school whilst looking at them from a completely different perspective. The efforts from the children was fantastic. See them here.

Lesson 3 - This extended the learning from lesson 2 by asking the children to expand on their pictures by describing and explaining the different parts of the school. The children used the app "Explain Everything,"  to record themselves discussing parts of the school while using the drawing tools to locate them on the picture. This was a fantastic speaking and listening lesson and really showcased the children's understanding of their school and the vocabulary they would use to describe it.

Class 2A's Guided Tours of the School Grounds from Davyhulme Primary School on Vimeo.

Lesson 4 -  In this lesson the learning branched out to the local area. We first discussed our local area and made a list of some of the famous/most popular places. We also discussed important places that local areas need to have such as police stations, hospitals and leisure centers for example. The children then had the task of searching on Google Earth to find pictures of important places and then take a screenshot. The children then imported their photos into Pic Collage and label them. This made them really grasp the different amenities a local area needs.

Lesson 5 -  This lesson was a lesson shared by @SimonHaughton, his website has lots of different ICT lessons and ideas. Using Google Earth, the children have to search postcodes which led to a famous landmark. The children had to try and find the landmark, write the name and what type of landmark it is. When they had finished they could look at the landmarks they were unfamiliar with to find out more information about them.

Lesson 6 - As the lessons were nearing to Christmas we tied this lesson with the "Christmas around the World," project that connected classes around the world through Skype to learn about Christmas traditions in different countries. It gave the children first hand experience of learning about a different country and different traditions. After a Mystery Skype and discussion about traditions the children were able to compare and contrast themselves with the class from all around the world.

The six lessons were really enjoyed by all the children. I feel using the iPads definitely enhanced the learning and improved the children's geography knowledge from their immediate environment to their context in the world.


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