iPads are being used in schools increasingly over recent times, and often they are a good technological resource to build cognitive and digital skills simultaneously. The Jones (2012) article, referenced below, highlights key benefits of using digital media like iPads in literacy learning for students:
– Play based opportunities help students to develop print awareness;
– Developing oral language and comprehension through play using a digital platform for telling and retelling a story;
– Teacher needs to support and scaffold and provide rich opportunities for language learning;
– Apps like Play School Art Maker enhance student-centred learning through student interaction, choice and decision-making;
– Retelling a story is an important part of meaning making and comprehension;
– It is important to scaffold the re-telling or story telling process to ensure students understand the structure of a narrative event sequence
– iPads can enhance engagement and learning, but there needs to be quality adult interaction to ensure the students are using the technology to its full potential
Jones, M. (2012), Ipads and kindergarten- students literacy development, SCAN, 31(4), 31-40.
THE PLAYSCHOOL ART MAKER APP (iPad)
This app allows children to build the background, setting, characters for a short story, and add movement & dialogue in a 30 second clip – this movement and dialogue is saved and automatically animated when played back as a short movie/story. It can be a great resource to help children understand the importance of aspects of a movie like the background, or dialogue delivery (voice, tone, pitch to convey/express emotion), and beyond this to develop storytelling and retelling skills. For texts studied in class, students could explore a particular character’s influences, emotions or motivations, or even develop alternate story endings. In all these ways and more, children could use this app to develop their literacy through a digitally fun mode.
PUPPET PALS APP (iPad)
Similar to the Playschool Art Maker app, this app allows construction of stories with voice recordings and animations. However, additional features like longer recording time, sound effects and choice of music (along with more choice for characters & settings), and the ability to add photos of yourself OR draw/colour in your own character makes this a more attractive literacy tool for students in upper primary who would be more digital-literate and independent. Also a fun resource for adults. Just quietly.