Technology Integration into the Kindergarten Program

Area(s) of Focus: technology, kindergarten
Division(s): Primary
Level(s): Kindergarten

This project explores how kindergarten teachers can use technology effectively across all frames of the kindergarten curriculum with particular focus on iPads.

For our project we decided to explore how kindergarten teachers can best utilize iPads to meet kindergarten learning goals across domains of the new curriculum. We started out with a focus on technology as a whole, but as we progressed through the project we decided to focus specifically on iPads. This was due to some technical issues that we had with software within our board not functioning properly, in particular Skype for Business. We used apps such as Handwriting Without Tears, Bugs and Buttons, Minecraft and PicCollage on the five iPad minis that were purchased through funds from this program. In addition we purchased protective covers and speakers to use with the iPads and existing classroom technology. 

Team Members

  • Lisa Tsumura

    Durham District School Board

  • Andrea Joy

    Durham District School Board

Professional Learning Goals

  • Learned how to most effectively use iPads in our kindergarten classes
  • Explored online learning tools and the most effective ways of using them (e.g., QR codes, Skype)
  • Explored how to best showcase and collect student data using technological tools such as iPads

Activities and Resources


Handwriting Without Tears

Bugs and Buttons Collection (Set of 6 apps)



Adobe Spark


Strategies We Used to Implement Our Program:

  • Using guided groups so that we could give students support while using apps and so that we as teachers could observe learning on iPads
  • Having children tell us how the apps worked and what they were learning
  • Shift in power dynamics between teachers and students to allow students to take on a leadership role in learning about technology and being “experts” in how the apps worked
  • Looking at the curriculum and from there determining which apps to purchase based on learning goals
  • Using stylus tools to mimic pencils to practise fine motor development
  • Sharing of iPads between classes
  • Use of iPads during free play learning centres and/or rotating centres
  • Ongoing check-ins to reflect upon what was happening with this project and what our next steps were

Unexpected Challenges

Initially we experienced issues with the wireless connectivity. In one of our classrooms there was weak to no wireless connection which limited our ability to use iPads. The technical support from the board fixed this problem twice and luckily the second time around was successful.

Though we were very excited to use Skype with our webcams purchased through funds from this project, Skype for Business, which is what we are supposed to use in our board, did not work properly. We were on the phone with our technical support help desk and submitted a help ticket but months later the problem still had not been remedied. This showed how sometimes external barriers prevent teachers from being able to use technology even when funding and teacher time is provided.

Getting Started:

One of the obstacles that we identified to technology integration in the classroom was having enough time to keep up with technology trends/learning. The time provided allowed us to research what products would best suit our classroom needs and to purchase materials and set up iPads.

Setting up the iPads took considerable time as we needed to sync them all, create Apple IDs and decide upon which apps we would use with our students.

The ability to collaborate together helped us to reflect, discuss and solve problems that we faced. It also helped us to move forward with how we would implement this program to improve our students’ learning but also for our own professional development as teachers. While this was occurring, we were also adjusting to changes to the curriculum, including new reporting for kindergarten. This was a theme throughout many of our discussions.

Enhancing Student Learning and Development

Documentation and Assessment Using OneNote on the iPad

One of the most useful tools that we found for supporting our students in a play-based learning environment was OneNote on the iPad. OneNote is a program that is part of Office 365. Since our board has purchased Office 365, we are able to use the OneDrive cloud to store information. This was very useful for us because we set up a OneNote notebook as our class portfolio. Then we created tabs with each student’s name on them and within each student tab, created pages for each of the curriculum domains. This allowed us to document student learning in the moment. We were able to do this by:

  • Taking a picture of the student or their learning artifact
  • Recording the students talking about their work
  • Making notes of what students said and did
  • Recording ourselves talking about what students were doing/saying
  • Taking pictures of assessment materials such as Running Records, letter identification assessments, etc.
  • Taking pictures of our own jot notes so that they were filed within the student’s portfolio
  • Sharing with our ECEs to both document and record student learning
  • Sharing the student files with the admin and specialty teachers

This OneNote portfolio was on our OneDrive account and therefore could be accessed from a computer or the iPad. This allowed us to easily use the data when we were writing the report cards or assessing student learning.

We both identified this tool, paired with the iPad, as an invaluable tool for teachers to capture student learning and to develop greater understanding of our students’ abilities and interests. This type of tool encouraged us to be reflective about what the important learning moments are and to use our assessment data to plan learning activities.


We shared our learning with our ECEs. During this time, we helped them to understand how to document student learning via OneNote with the iPads. Lisa put on workshops for kindergarten teachers in our board about how to use OneNote and an iPad for documentation of student learning. We also decided that one of the ways to share our learning about technology is via social media. We decided to post our list of apps for kindergarten teachers on Facebook on the Ontario Kindergarten Teachers Facebook Group and Durham Kindergarten Educators Facebook Group. In light of the importance of social media in today’s society as a way to distribute information, we thought this would be a good method to help many teachers. We also realize that learning about technology takes time and hope that the list of apps we have provided will better help teachers in their use of iPads in kindergarten.

Our Reflections About Learning With iPads in Kindergarten:

  • Having students notice and name the learning about what they were doing on the iPads is a way that we can foster communication skills in our students
  • Children need the opportunity to explore technology and make their own choices about what learning activities they will participate in
  • Our students demonstrated how they self-regulate using technology by choosing apps that are appropriate for their level and staggered more difficult apps with easier ones
  • We need to continue to honour a program for all strands of our kindergarten curriculum, not just the academic ones such as literacy and mathematics
  • Assessment using the iPads and OneNote allowed us to be more reflective, responsive educators because we were constantly documenting student learning
  • We wished that our ECEs could also take part in this study as learning and educating is a collaborative between ECEs and teachers

Project Evaluation

Evaluating Our Progress:

First of all, we wanted to note that learning is an ongoing process, and that technology is constantly changing and evolving. We feel that in order to keep up with these demands and prepare our students for a digitally immersed future, we need to participate in and be provided with ongoing professional development in this area. We also feel that kindergarten teachers have specific learning needs when it comes to technology, and that projects such as this one that allow us to engage in action research specific to our own learning are invaluable.

Through this project, we were able to engage in reflective practice through observation, making notes and discussion with our grade partner. This allowed us to implement strategies in our classroom, such as guided groups with the iPads using specific apps, and observe and reflect upon their success. It also gave us an opportunity to analyze our own practices and make adjustments to best support our students. For example, one of the things that we realized was that when students were given the choice of what apps to use, they were able to use self-regulation skills to pick apps at appropriate skill levels. As a result, we gave students more time to independently choose their learning activities. We also had an opportunity to discuss our uncertainty about how to best proceed with printing instruction in a time period where students will most likely be using technology for most written communication.

This type of dialogue was very meaningful to us as teachers because from it emerged more understanding about how to best support our students using technology.

We were unable to use Skype, which was one of our major learning goals of the project.  This was disappointing but could not be helped due to technical issues that were beyond our control.

Our ongoing collection of data using the iPads was an area that we both felt like we had incredible growth in and where we would like to continue to focus on in the future.

Resources Created

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