Welcome to my blog! I'm Karen Belt, a teacher and leader of digital learning, working at Lynmore Primary School in Rotorua, New Zealand. I'm teaching in a Year 2 class using iPads to engage and motivate learners and improve student achievement. This blog documents my teaching journey and my learning processes with iPads in the classroom. I've proud of having been a member of the inaugural Manaiakalani Digital Teaching Academy(MDTA) program and last year a Spark Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher (MIT) and Manaiakalani Google Class OnAir teacher.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Tiny Tap magic

I've discovered a new app which allows me to create purposeful activities for my learners and tells them they are correct!  While I love using Explain Everything in the classroom, one of the things that somewhat frustrates me, are projects where learners can practice things but I need to provide feedback as to whether they are "right" - after all there is no point in them continually practicing ordering of numbers from 1 - 10 if they are not getting it right.  In the past I often use collaboration - other learners in the class who are secure on a concept or skill, providing peer feedback to others.

The Tiny Tap app allows me to create projects which provide learners with feedback if they get something right, and prompts them to try again if they are not correct.  The receive instant feedback that they have got the answer right and can continually practice to improve their accuracy and embed the learning.  I've created several projects so far, specifically looking at the needs of my learners on things that 'repetition' will help with - counting to 10, high frequency words, ordering numbers, number identification!

When I introduced the activity to my learners last week they were immediately engaged - there is a "gaming aspect" to it - it has bells, whistles and sounds which my 5 year olds really enjoy! Importantly however, they are engaged at doing the same game/activity again and again and their accuracy improves the more they play.

So - how am I managing this in the classroom in order to make the learning personalised, whilst also being manageable with 18 learners?  I've created my own Tiny Tap account and have labelled all my games as "PES Rm 19" for easy identification!  So far I've created eight games, but intend to create many more after the successes of the last week - all the games are public and available for anyone to play or download through the app (or a browser on a computer).  As I found with creating Explain Everything projects, I get quicker at creating the games, the more I do.

My next step was to find a way for my five year olds to be playing the game that best matched their learning needs - without asking 5 year olds to perform complication searches!  Drawing on my experiences from last year once again, I've decided to implement the use of QR codes - and it works!  I've created a QR code for each game that I've made (with a picture of the game next to it so that its easy for me to identify which QR code is which).  The very first time a learner plays a game they are prompted to "get" the game after scanning the QR code (I've done this for the learners so the games at each learners' level are already downloaded to their device).   My learners now scan the QR code, press the green "play" button and the Tiny Tap app opens with the game ready to play.

I'm looking forward to seeing if this engaged, personalised repetition helps learners to remember things such as high frequency words and number identification.  It's also great to get ideas from other teachers in the Tiny Tap community which may help my learners.  As I get faster at creating projects I look forward to being even more personalised to the needs of my learners and to further supporting their learning acceleration.

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