Enhance Early Understanding of Shape with iPad and Padlet

Shape Hunting around School.

This adult led activity happens in so many foundation classes, and I have led shape walks many times. During these walks, we carry a bag of plastic shapes, and we match the plastic pieces to real objects. This happens for 2D and 3D shapes. The children might even mark off on a clipboard the shapes they spotted, like bingo, or draw pictures of the shapes they have seen. By the end of the walk, they have all recorded the same shapes in the same places. I wanted to enhance this experience, to make it more collaborative. To do this I used Padlet.

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Using Padlet.

First of all Padlet is a website, not an app. This means it can be used across multiple platforms (MacBook, laptop, netbook, iPad). Before the lesson I set up a free account with Padlet and created a board for the lesson. This generates a URL for your Padlet board (a website address). From the iPads, I opened Safari and typed in the URL for my Padlet board. This gave access to the Padlet board for each iPad.

To use Padlet, you double tap a place on the board you want to post to. This gives you the option to type a note. Pressing the import icon opens a second tile. Tapping on this launches the camera app and a photograph can be taken and inserted to the board. Across all devices using the same Padlet URL, every post will be synced and displayed in real time. Therefore, all users will see the same images as they are inserted.

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Classroom Organisation.

Before using Padlet, children needed a good understanding of capturing and inserting images to an app. The skill for this is same across all iOS apps and in Safari. It is a transferable skill across all iPad apps, this is really useful for early years children. We began practising this skill in the initial weeks of school when authoring books.

My Sahara touch screen in the classroom displayed our Padlet, showing our progress live in the classroom. The photographs the children captured and inserted were synced to our screen and displayed to children who were in the classroom. Our Padlet was also ready to sort when we returned to the classroom too.

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The input for this activity also introduced the children to using Padlet and they photographed the plastic examples of 3D shapes we have in our continuous provision. They had a quick 3D shape hunt in our classroom too, practising the skill of inserting a photograph to Padlet.

Furthermore, I made us of Guided Access in iOS 8’s accessibility options. This ensured that the iPads were locked to Safari so children did not make the error or closing Safari accidentally or putting the iPad to sleep whilst carrying it around.

The Shape Hunt with Padlet.

As we walked around school, children captured the 3D shapes the could see around them. As their view of the Padlet board synced with each others photographs, they could see examples that their peers had captured and know to look for different examples. This generated a greater element of challenge because of this. They had to look further, wider, higher, lower and in more obscure places to find 3D shapes. Children wanted to photograph a shape their peers hadn’t spotted.

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The activity also came a natural end. Children love wondering around their school and looking in to classrooms. Padlet focused them on capturing enough images for us to sort back in the classroom. When the board was full of examples, they knew it was time to return to class. They led the way!

Back in the classroom we sorted our images in to categories of the same 3D.

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Padlet is simple and free. It is a new staple resource for collaborative work in my classroom. It always amazes me children use and apply their skills on iOS across the curriculum.

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