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Is all this interactivity and engagement really a good thing?

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Started by Allanah King 30 Sep 2011 10:05pm () Replies (8)

I wrote this as a blog post but it might be better as a discussion...

As I was working with the very young children (6yo) on Thursday I was thinking that all this iPad interactivity, on its own, may actually not be a good thing.


Did I tell you that I now have an iPad2 that will project through a data projector??


When we had the book 'Morris Lesmore' projected from the iPad onto the classroom ordinary whiteboard we could stop at the various places and discuss what was happening in the story and nothing particularly interactive happened in the story unless the user wanted it too which is something I really liked about the app.

Some other stories progress automatically from page to page which doesn't give the teacher much of an opportunity to help children make connections with the text. I put myself in my happy place and wake up ten minutes later- just like watching an animated cartoon on TV really- except that it's on an iPad.

Then when the children were keen to read the book on their own they were much more intent on doing the interactive bits than listening/reading the story.

I wondered then if all the interactivity of the app was actually lessening the children's desire to actually read the text.

I told them that the interactive bits wouldn't work until at least they actually waited and listened to the text.

Although they loved the app did they equally love the reading experience??

I am not so sure?

What do you think? 


  • Jo Howard (View all users posts) 01 Oct 2011 12:01pm ()

    Hi Allanah, I have noticed the same thing in my class of Yr 5's. The excitement of using the ipad seems to  detract from the task at hand when it comes to reading a traditional text in a non-traditional form. I have moved away from using our ipads in this way. I am getting the children to create a response to the text (so far we have tried straight retells) using Story Robe thanks to one of your previous postings. The group of less able readers and writers are having to put the story into their own words and they insert a picture from the text and add a voice over. It's a very simple activity but gives the group a great sense of achievement, especially when we project it on the screen for the rest of the class to share.

  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 01 Oct 2011 12:09pm ()

    Thanks for the comment Jo

    Yes I think we still have to put boundaries on any tech that we are using to make sure it is being used for useful purposes.

    I think you would really get a lot out of Book Creator


    It's a really easy book creator- I showed my kids and they got how to make the books in a couple of minutes, importing or taking their own photos and writing their own text. The books you've made then export to iBooks and sit nicely on the bookshelf. No voice though, just words and pictures or photos. Magic.

  • Matthew Thomas (View all users posts) 03 Oct 2011 8:26pm ()

    And that is it in a nutshell eh.  I think a lot of the power of the iPad is in using it as a content creation device more than a consumption device.  Not saying that apps like Morris Lessmore aren't amazing, but we won't be rushing out to buy these apps as a school.

  • Stuart Hale (View all users posts) 03 Oct 2011 8:42pm ()

    I agree - I have worked with over 35 Schools in the last 2 months and always look at Content Creating Apps that never "wear out" Can be used from Yr1 up any subject area any language the list goes on. No one ever says I have done the word processor - what is next!

    So while working with these schools I emphasise the Content creation with 80% of the time and work with the others for the rest

  • iDave (View all users posts) 03 Oct 2011 9:11pm ()

    Both usefull purpose and content creation have their place.  Apps that target a specific need can be very effective if the students (and teachers) know why they are using a particular app and what they are trying to achieve (and know when they achieve something)

    Content creation allows you to push the creativity aspect - the app is just used as a vehicle for the expression of ideas.  iPad apps are usually so easy to use that you can focus on  content - and pushing the boundries.

    Like Stuart (below) I tend to favour apps that are open ended and work in all areas of learning although there are some apps that are area specific that break down traditional barriers and ways of working and give access to all.  Some of the amazing music iPad apps spring to mind here.

  • Matthew Thomas (View all users posts) 03 Oct 2011 9:17pm ()

    Agree with you their iDave.  In fact, most of the apps that I make are just what you describe.  Really specific learning apps that do one job really well.  The trick is for teachers to be really good atpersonalising their students learning, so that the app they are using meets the needs of that student.

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 03 Feb 2012 11:32am ()

    Great comment iDave, "Content creation allows you to push the creativity aspect - the app is just used as a vehicle for the expression of ideas."

    Here's a fabulous video shared by DK about an iBand - where all the music is composed and performed on a iPad. Really is content creation and collaboration at its best. Maybe we could start a competition nationwide?

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