The following guest post is written by the amazing and incredible Susan Stephenson, of The Book Chook. Susan is my Australian friend who has tons of fab ideas on children’s literacy, learning, and more.
- Using iPad Apps to Create, by Susan Stephenson
I love what the iPad offers young learners.
I’m especially excited about opportunities it gives to create their own content, whether that be in the form of text, images, video and other media, or combinations of these.
Creative thinking is incredibly important to children’s future learning, and finding opportunities for kids to create rather than consume via technology is fantastic.
Even pre-schoolers can create on the iPad, and an iPad Mini is kinder to little hands. The camera is a built-in tool that little ones love exploring with. Not only that, but parents enjoy viewing a child’s perspective on life!
Beginning writers can learn to send a picture to Grandma from the camera roll with some words that explain it. Grandma will love the contact and I just bet she’ll enjoy those invented spellings.
One app I discovered recently, ABC Spy HD by Stealth Education, invites kids to use the iPad camera within the app. They find objects starting with each letter of the alphabet to photograph, then type the object’s name. To share with others, they make a little video within the app.
Other interesting apps where young children can use the camera are Eye Paint Monsters and Eye Paint Animals by Curious Hat.
Note: I am a firm advocate for limiting screen time for children. But I believe SOME screen time plus lots of time for stories, cuddles, chats, imaginative play and outdoor fun, makes for a balanced parenting approach.
When it’s time for screen play, think about the following apps for your preschooler or young learners:
- Draw Along with Stella and Sam: Based on the picture books by Marie-Louise Gay, in this app children choose shapes, decorate them and watch them come to life in very cute animation.
- Little Fox Music Box: As well as delightful animated songs that kids can interact with and listen to, Little Fox Music Box encourages kids to record themselves singing and making music.
- Night Zookeeper Drawing Torch: The Night Zookeeper Drawing Torch’s emphasis is on story. It encourages kids to imagine and draw creatures like spying giraffes, time-travelling elephants and singing fish.
There are hundreds, probably thousands, of apps that older kids can use. As with pre-schoolers, having them use the camera helps them to “look” at their environment from a new perspective, and become more aware of art elements like colour, pattern, texture and line.
Here are some other apps I like that I believe encourage children to create.
- Strip Designer: Children often need to present information visually, especially if they need to show they understand something, or to explain it. Strip Designer is also a neat app for kids to use when they want to tell a digital story.
- Moku Hanga: Image editors offer kids exciting opportunities to tweak photos they take. Moku Hanga has a “wood-block” look and it’s simple enough for older primary students to experiment with. It would make a great accompaniment for when kids try writing their own haiku.
- Pic Collage: More than just a photography app, Pic Collage is a way for children to create a digital story. They could record a family outing, tell the tale of a lost tooth, or capture and caption their friends’ scariest Halloween costumes.
- The Daily Monster Monster Maker: Here kids will find loads of opportunities to create by “blowing” paint, then customizing a monster and taking its pic, in-app. Incorporate literacy into the fun by encouraging kids to add speech bubbles and have their monsters “talk”. The pictures produced can be added to an app like Pic Collage, or Strip Designer (mentioned above) to tell a story.
Combining apps is a wonderful way for children to get even more from the iPad. The emphasis here is on kids thinking creatively, using apps and iPad as tools to express themselves.
By starting in one app, then continuing in another, children learn how to develop a work flow that suits their needs. The iPad is such a powerful tool for creation, offering kids many opportunities to create, communicate – and above all, have fun with it!
Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing these super iPad app ideas, Susan!! We love them!
Check out The Book Chook blog for educational tips and resources for parents, teachers and librarians. Find lots of free PDFs via www.susanstephenson.com, and follow Susan on Twitter, Facebook, Scholastic Parents,Google+ and ScoopIt.
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other posts in the series: