We have been very fortunate to receive an iPad to use with the children. So far, we’ve used it to document some of the children’s learning through pictures and video. The children have also been using it to draw pictures, voice-record stories, type observations and write about their learning. I found it very interesting that one of my emergent readers automatically left spaces between words when she used the keyboard, but often needs prompting to do so when she writes on paper. I wonder if she’s making the connection to how text appears in a book? Does she leave a space because she is typing or because the format is similar? Maybe she’s just at the stage where she doesn’t need as much prompting. Regardless of the reason it’s something I’m paying closer attention to.
I’ve been on the lookout for apps that are open-ended. There are many highly rated Kindergarten apps available, but five-stars doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to work in the program. Whether on paper or in electronic format, a worksheet is a worksheet. I prefer apps that are versatile and that support children’s creativity and curiosity.
Here are a few that we’ve used so far:
My Story This is a great app for writing and drawing. It’s a simple story maker and book creator. The children can draw a picture, take a picture, or import one from the Photo Gallery. There is a text feature, so they can write about their pictures using the keyboard or they can use the drawing feature to write words. My Story also has voice recording so the children can narrate their stories or describe their pictures. It’s also great for creating and sharing class books.
Bamboo Paper can also be used to handwrite and import pictures. A few of the children have asked if they can write about something they’ve made using the iPad. Using a stylus or their finger, they can write on the screen.
Sock Puppets allows children to choose their own puppet character, stage and scenery. They can create their own puppet show by recording their voices. It’s a great app to encourage story telling.
Pic Collage is another app we’ve used both for our own documentation purposes and with the children. The app allows you to create a photo collage and add text. It gives children another way to represent their learning.
One of my absolute favourite apps is Noteshelf. Last year I decided to use my iPad for assessment purposes. Before the iPad, I took notes on stickies and filed them under each student’s name. I wanted an app that would allow me to quickly handwrite a note and take pictures. With Noteshelf, each of my students has a “notebook” where I jot down observations including pictures. It’s also a great way to set up electronic portfolios or journals for the children. Although it’s my favourite handwriting app, it doesn’t have voice recording….yet. Personally, I’d love to see this app include voice recording, tabs, and the ability to annotate PDFs. The great thing is that you can provide feedback to the app developers, so if you’re a teacher and you use Noteshelf, please take the time to share your feedback.