At Manaia Kindergarten we bought out the ipad for the first time on Thursday to explore the universe and find the Matariki stars in the sun lit sky through the iris of the ipad. (See blogpost about SKYVIEW app). This was a little tricky with a group of 30 eager children. Each child wanted a closer look. The Sun and the planets proving a big hit over the small stars.
THE 1st QUESTION raised from my first experience of the ipad with young children is:
"How can I connect the ipad (with apps running such as SKYVIEW) to our digital projector?
A Boy's Experience
Later in the morning I noticed one of our quiet boys looking a little lost and struggling to connect with other children. As I talked to him he asked me if he could see the stars again. When I handed him the PRECIOUS ipad, he confidently took it from my hands and swung it up to the sky. We were sitting at outside tables, on a slab of concrete. I HELD MY BREATH, .... AND .... trusted him.
Immediately others came over to him and they began to talk about the stars, the sun and the planets - swinging the ipad above their heads as they talked.
They wanted to explore more!!
So we tried out SMULE together. WOW - the music they played - tapping on the screen together, trying to catch the glowing green balls - then swirling the balls to make patterns in the music. I have been considering purchasing a MAC keyboard - but this was much more fun. SMULE combines music and art. It is all about process and experience, and not about an end product. GREAT!!
I really thought they would stick with the music - but we only had the one free song - Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (which btw we had learnt in Te Reo (Maori) that morning). However there was obviously only so much of that song and the art they could handle.
THE 2ND QUESTION:
What budget does a school/early childhood centre set for ipad apps? And how would you prevent children deleting them accidentally?
The Watermelon Dog
by an ipad Sculptor
The children wanted to explore more. By now J had one boy buddy and five girls hanging over his shoulders. But he was beaming with his new found magic and the ipad.
So he began his first role play as a SCULPTOR.
This app provides children with choices of wood or vegetables to sculp. They are probably American woods - it would be nice to apply different names and grains to the wood, to represent New Zealand indigenous woods - but hey - it is a start.
J choose to sculpt a watermelon. As he tapped he talked about the bit flying off the watermelon and it took a few moments for him to realise that by tapping he was changing the shape of the melon. He quickly learnt that by holding his finger down on the screen and moving it, he could rotate his sculpture in 3D. He did this regularly, seemingly assessing his work. Four other children created sculptures that morning. And it made me think.....
WHY am I encouraging children to sculp in 3D on a virtual cold screen?
WHY am I not rather giving them a piece of REAL wood?
We do of course provide woodwork opportunities for children. WAS I today encouraging them to sculp on a screen rather than risk injury with REAL tools?
And then again....
I had fun sculpting on the screen - so WHY should I deprive children of that similiar experience?
AND more importantly top designers usually design on a screen first (these days) before investing time and money on real resources.
WHAT would this virtual experience do for young children's REAL life experiences?
The Great thing about the ipad
After the children had completed their virtual sculptures - we emailed the images straight from the SCULPTOR app to their parents. No cameras, no downloading, no uploading, no exporting or converting. I look forward to hearing their parents responses.
The Snow Princess
by an ipad SCULPTOR
The OTHER Great thing about the ipad.
It is a tool, integrated into a programme that provides children with a range of experiences.
ANSWER to QUESTIONs No3:
After two of the girls, who didn't really know eachother, had completed their virtual sculptures, chatted about their designs, giggled as they moved the image in 3D, and emailed their final images to their parents..... I saw them 10 minutes later - at the wood work table - earmuffs on, goggles over their eyes, drills rotating, and wood in their hands - SCULPTING!!!
And J made new friends today!!
In just one morning session - I see a whole lot of potential for this little screen.
Related reading from ICT in ECE
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