Everytime I hold an iPad it makes me want one even more. When the iPad first came out, I was like I don’t need that. I already have my iPhone and my iPod Touch. If I need to do things that are bigger, I’ll just use my iMac or my MacBook (yes, we are a die-hard apple house). But then I started seeing people do things that I can’t exactly do with my phone. My phone is great for quick answers and quick games while I’m hanging out or waiting, but iPads are basically like laptops without a few functions, and our laptop is deteriorating and I don’t really want to invest in a new one if we don’t have to. Hence, my desire for an iPad. Once I get a FT job, that will be the grand prize and the one big expenditure before we start saving money like crazy and my student loan payments go back to normal. But until then, I get to salivate over others iPads.
Which brings me to the Picture Books for iPads workshop put on by SCLC which I attended thanks to PVLD. You might remember a few months back that at RBPL I attended an e-Reader workshop which was also put on by SCLC. We had the same teacher and she was helpful. The real benefit of this class and any e-Reader class isn’t really what they teach you (at least people who are fairly proficient in technology and aren’t afraid to press buttons until they can figure it out). The real benefit is having some one-on-one time and getting to press the buttons and see what everything does.
We looked at the different types of Picture Books on the iPad, which ranged from straight, boring, reading the text on the page, to varying levels of interactivity all the way to making the book into an almost video game where the story is merely secondary to the side games.
One of my favorites that we were allowed to play with was the Moo Baa La La App. The story goes in a traditional format by turning the pages and you have the option of having a narrator read the story or you read the story to yourself. When the narrator read, the words he was saying lit up. While I love this feature, sometimes the narrator goes much too fast or a phrase is lit up rather than individual words. I loved this app because the pacing was good, individual words were highlighted, and when you touched the different animals they made their sounds. At one point I was creating a symphony of farm animals.
Another of my favorites was the PopOut! Peter App which read Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. It had the same options as Moo Baa La La and the pacing and narration and word highlighting was also excellent in this one. The pages had a lot of things you could play with and acted like a pop-up book where you tapped tabs which made different things on the screen move. I liked this app because while there was stuff to do, I didn’t feel it detracted from the story or became sensory overload.
The last app I’m going to discuss was the Goosed Up Rhymes App. Oh my goodness, this app was kind of sensory overload. Don’t get me wrong, it was super cute and fun, but there was just so much to do beyond even listening to the rhyme. I was trying to find acorns for the squirrel and I was trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again and basically, I was tapping anything and everything on the screen just to see what it did. I really viewed this one more as a game than anything – with a bunch of rhymes thrown in.
We looked at some other apps, and while they were good, they weren’t great, and these 3 were my favorites. I can’t wait to get my own iPad and download more books to play with!
The workshop also briefly covered some programming ideas such as checking out iPads or cabling them to tables for kids to play with or using them in storytime. I don’t think I’m at the point where I’d feel comfortable using them in storytime. I feel like kids get enough screen time that the parents bring them to storytime to hear stories from a live human being and to see types of storytelling you can’t just get at home, so other than providing my music or keeping track of my storytime plan, I’m not sure that I want to incorporate that type of technology as much into my story telling.
Also, in case you wanted access to some cool app reviews, you might want to check out this website which was recommended by SCLC and which looked pretty reputable without an alterior agenda: Best Kids Apps