FCPS Begins Pilot Program Testing iPads for Its Youngest Learners
This week, FCPS is beginning a pilot program on the use of iPads for prekindergarten and kindergarten students. Purchased with a federal grant, the iPad rollout is part of an overhaul of the technology available to our youngest learners in the classroom. These students currently use heavier laptops but, at this age, most students are already familiar with touch screens, making it easier for these young learners to navigate, transport, and share their thinking.
Lake Anne Elementary, Riverside Elementary, and Bailey’s Primary are participating in the pilot. The goal is for teachers to learn how to best integrate the devices into the school day while still providing hands-on and engaging instruction where students can interact and build relationships with their peers and teachers. Technology adds an increasingly important component to student learning.
Each school has a specific feature that they will be focusing on. At Bailey’s Primary, the focus will be on using the camera. For example, after learning about shapes, students may go on a shape scavenger hunt and take pictures of the shapes they find and then discuss what they photographed with the group. Lake Anne will focus on the development of literacy skills using pre-loaded, age-appropriate applications that can be also accessed at home and continued with a family member. Riverside will focus on how iPads can help students share their ideas and understanding of concepts in a creative way, such as artwork or videos.
Teachers involved in the pilot will be provided with training before using the iPads with students. Students will be able to take the devices home as needed, enhancing the home-school connection. At the end of the school year, the iPads will be returned. The lessons learned during the pilot will be used to refine the program before it is expanded in the 2022-23 school year to all elementary schools with prekindergarten and kindergarten programs.