In the past, we've posted many times about app suggestions. We thought it was about time we wrote about how we use some of them. In this first post of two, we'll write about writing using a tablet as a prompt for writing and will follow it up with a post about writing on a tablet.
We use iPad devices and therefore write about our experiences with those. However, where possible we also do our best to refer to other tablet alternatives.
At a TeachMeet, back in 2011, we were introduced to Epic Citadel. In the app, the user can navigate their way around a fictional Citadel. We have used this while writing stories about Robin Hood and King Arthur. In addition, we have also used it as a 'one off' creative writing task in the first or third person. It's currently available for both iOS and Android. Oh, and it's free!
We downloaded ColAR Mix about 18 months ago. We downloaded it because of various messages we saw about it on Twitter. The first time we used the app, we put the colouring sheets on tables and simply asked the children to colour them in on entry to the classroom. Once the sheets were mostly coloured, children were instructed to open the tablets and scan the picture. It's one of the most amazing classroom experiences we've had! The children are amazed! The children were then instructed to, "Write about what's happening on screen". Some descriptive writing followed as the children were engaged.
Next, we made used of the ColAR Christmas and New Year resources. No writing this time, just a it of end of term colouring and enjoyment (that's allowed - isn't it?) Recently ColAR app released some more free images. We used the football playing sheep, and again after colouring, the children wrote recounts, diary entries, stories and more about the sheep. Most recently, we used the Pudsey picture and wrote a recount of 'Pudsey's CiN Disco 2014' (after colouring the picture of course). Colouring in the classroom? Yes! You get some great writing afterwards... Again, free and on both Android and iOS.
My Dragon Toy
Very similar to ColAR Mix as it uses similar technology. Give the child a target image, a tablet device, get them to scan, imagine and the write... Yeah, you guessed it - FREE!
Give the children a game/puzzle to play on the device. Once they've had a jolly good play and hopefully enjoyed themselves, get them to write a set of instructions for how to use said app. These instructions could then be shared with staff, parents and so on...
Epic Zen Garden
Very similar to Epic Citadel. Making a journey around a fantasy world that can then lead onto fictional writing.
Advertisements can provide an excellent impetus for writing and this one from Cadbury in 2013 proved a hit with a Year Five class and some lovely writing. With tablet devices, children can watch, forward, rewind and so on in their own time. In addition, using QuietTube helps to remove comments, adverts and more.
So, there are some ideas for having a tablet device on one part of the desk and writing on paper (the examples here have been typed up for ease of sharing): using it as a reason to write, inspiration for writing or to engage young minds. Writing and tablets does not have to mean writing on them, but that post is coming soon...