Search Results for awnali

An iPad-enhanced Storytime, by Awnali Mills and Rachel Sharpe

This is the story of an iPad enhanced storytime, told by colleagues Awnali Mills and Rachel Sharpe.

Awnali: I was getting ready to do a bird-themed storytime and found the book Have You Heard the Nesting Bird? by Rita Gray. It follows two children as they listen to various birds in their yard and watch a silent robin on its nest until its eggs hatch. The book verbalizes the calls of the various birds and contrasts them to the silent nesting bird.

As I was reading over the story, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if I could play these birdcalls for the kids?” I tried finding birdcall apps to work on my iPad in an unobtrusive way. No dice. I tried downloading individual bird calls, but that didn’t work well either. Frustrated, I reached out to my colleague Rachel Sharpe to see if she could conjure a technological brainstorm. She did!

Rachel: I searched the Internet for free, downloadable birdcalls and struck gold with a math professor’s website from SUNY (the site has been around since 1997!). The birdcalls are registered under a creative commons license (CC BY-NC 3.0), so I was able to download most of what I needed and modify them to fit my needs. For the rest, I used www.foundsounds.com.

Once I had my collection of birdcalls, I used Windows Movie Maker to arrange the sounds. Because I was working with sounds, not video, I had to add 90 seconds of a blank title screen to act as the video portion of the movie. I added the sounds, repeating some of the shorter ones, and left three seconds between each bird call to act as a buffer.

When all the sounds were in place, I saved the video and uploaded it to zamzar.com, a file conversion site. Zamzar quickly converted the file to an .mp3, erasing the video portion of the file and just keeping the audio. Voila! I quickly attached that file to an email and shipped it off to Awnali.

Awnali: Rachel’s .mp3 worked beautifully on the computer, but I needed it on my iPad. Following some instructions I found online, I downloaded Dropbox onto my computer and iPad and used the app to download and transfer the birdcalls .mp3. Success!

I practiced manipulating the iPad while reading the book aloud several times to make sure that it worked seamlessly. I learned that the three-second interval Rachel had inserted was just enough time to read most of the lines without stopping, and it was easy to pause playback for longer lines.

I had the .mp3 open and ready to go before the kids arrived (playing it from Dropbox).  I held the book in one hand and operated the iPad with the other. This worked perfectly. As soon as the children heard the birdcalls, they gasped and looked at their parents, who smiled at them. When one little girl heard the catbird call, she piped up, “What was that??” Because the catbird does, in fact, sound like a cat! This combined to create the charming effect of walking through the woods listening to and watching birds. When I asked, “Do you see the_____ bird?” The kids excitedly assured me that they did. I couldn’t have asked for a better effect.

Undoubtedly, straightforward apps are much easier to utilize. But we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be limited to only the content supplied by others. In the true spirit of makers, we stepped out of the box, developed an idea, collaborated with others, and utilized numerous technologies to produce a beautifully enhanced storytime—no app needed.

Awnali Mills works in the Children’s Dept. of a public library and she gets the snot scared out of her by sudden loud sounds coming out of apps she’s trying out. She blogs at The Librarian is on the Loose.

Rachel Sharpe works in the children’s department of a public library and has permanent dibs on the department’s iPad.

~*~
Little eLit is a collaborative think tank of professionals thinking about the topic of young children, new media, and libraries. Individuals who share their viewpoints, experiences, and presentations in Little eLit blog posts are expressing their personal views and do not represent Little eLit as a whole.

Kalley’s Machine Plus Cats: App Review, by Awnali Mills

When my friend Rachel Sharpe emailed me about this wonderful app that I just had to try, I jumped right on it because she has great taste in apps. Once again, she was right! Kalley’s Machine Plus Cats ($2.99 iPad/iPhone) is a fun little story with great graphics and interactivity and worked well in storytime.

Kalley's 1The story is about this wonderful machine that a little girl named Kalley has invented. On each screen, she shows her father different parts of the machine, each one interactive. You can pull the levers, push the buttons, use the puffer and the smasher, paint things different colors (and combine primary colors to create secondary colors), and sort things into different bins. Kalley’s father thinks all of this is wonderful, but he’s baffled by the point of all this machinery. At the end of the story, the little girl finally explains that this machine makes food so that her father won’t have to go to work, but can stay home with her. Sadly, her father explains to her that he works for more than just the ability to purchase food, and Kalley proclaims that she’ll just make machines to do those things too!

And, that’s the story behind the app. The developer came home from work and his daughter had designed this machine on paper for the very same reason that appeared in the story. The developer turned her idea into an app as a way of possibly making her dream of daddy staying home a reality. I like a heartwarming-tale-meets-cold-hard-technology story as much as the next person, but it doesn’t make a bad app into a good one. Fortunately, this is a pretty good one.

Kalley's 2What I liked: The interactivity is pretty fabulous. There’s enough stuff here to keep kids playing with it for a long time, and it’s sneakily educational. Being able to watch as cats play around the machinery, and using the machinery to try and tease them is fun (cats cannot get hurt). You can also remove the cats as one of the options. You can have narration or not as you choose, and have background music or not. It’s easy to navigate, and there are no ads or in-app purchases. I loved that it featured a girl as the engineer. I love the message that kids have the power to create things to improve their lives.

What I didn’t like: The “puffers” and “shrinkers” on my app didn’t work, although the screenshots shown on the app’s website show them working. While this is disappointing, it didn’t lessen the charm of the working machinery. Some of the word choices irritated me, particularly when the girl tells her father, “It stamps shapes of the things that you choosed.” Yeah, I know that it’s a little kid speaking, but obviously incorrect grammar makes me a little crazy.

Kalley's 3I liked this app enough to use it in a food-themed storytime. I wasn’t sure how all the interactivity would translate to a storytime setting, but I managed to work some of the machinery while I was reading, and worked some of it after reading the page—practicing ahead of time is crucial here. If I had to do it over again, I would lower the volume a bit (I had it on full blast) so that the noise of the machinery didn’t compete with my voice as much. The kids were glued to the screen and seemed to enjoy the story. I meant to make the app available for play after stories, but kids were mobbing the flannelboard I had made available for play and I got distracted. Maybe next time!

 

Awnali Mills works in the Children’s Dept. of a public library and she gets the snot scared out of her by sudden loud sounds coming out of apps she’s trying out. She blogs at The Librarian is on the Loose.
~*~
Little eLit is a collaborative think tank of professionals thinking about the topic of young children, new media, and libraries. Individuals who share their viewpoints, experiences, and presentations in Little eLit blog posts are expressing their personal views and do not represent Little eLit as a whole.

Inventioneers: An App Review, by Awnali Mills

IMG 1 InventioneersYou know one of the things I love? When you download an app ‘cause it’s free and get Absolutely Hooked On It. That’s how it was when I found Inventioneers by Filimundus AB (iTunes/Android). Normally, I’m all about apps for preschoolers, but I was intrigued by the thought of learning physics by making my own inventions—not usually a preschooler thing. “Okay,” I thought, “I’ll bite. It’s free, and at worst I can just delete it.” To start with, I was just going to see how the app worked. I tried the first section and after much fiddling (bit of a learning curve) got my invention to work. I was so excited! I went on to the next page and got that one to work, too. Then I realized that the little stars floating around were prizes. If I could get parts of my invention to hit them, then I got a bonus! An hour later I had to drag myself away.

The free download of Inventioneers offers one open “chapter.” This one chapter is more than enough to tell you whether you’d like to make the one-time purchase of $1.99 to open five other chapters and the Create Your Own Invention section. Each chapter is actually a setting in which you create inventions to solve problems. There are 42 “pages” in each chapter, each page offering a progressively more difficult task.

So maybe, like I was, you aren’t quite sure how an app can let you explore physics and make inventions. In the app, gravity works on objects, as does force. You build inventions, taking these forces into account, to accomplish tasks. To start with, the app lets you work on simple problems, only giving you the props you need to make your inventions. Sort of like handing you all the pieces to a slingshot, telling you that a rock needs to hit a can and letting you figure out how to put the pieces together to accomplish the task. At first, you aren’t quite sure what to do. Then, through experimentation, you figure it out.

IMG 4 InventioneersSo, what sort of raw materials does the app give you to accomplish these tasks? I’m so glad you asked, but I’m not going to list everything because it’s extensive. Here’s just a sample. For building there are funnels, boards, pipes, bricks, and cheese (who knew?). Things to drop, things to throw, and things to balance on all make an appearance. And then there are things like gears, spokes, fans, motors, ramps, horns, clocks, springs, balances, fire, explosives, and more. There are also these little guys called Inventioneers. They are tiny characters in the game “with special abilities like blowing air, creating fire, magnetism, and shooting lasers.” All these materials REALLY come into play once the game is unlocked and you can access the Create Your Own Invention section. The chapters give you a task to accomplish but the Create section allows you to imagine your own task.

My only complaint, if any, was the fact that you’re allowed to set up parts of your invention to begin in mid-air. This wouldn’t work in real life, obviously. Maybe it’s just me, but I couldn’t figure out how to make some of my inventions work without this quirk. Once I accepted that things work a bit differently in app-world, I got on just fine.

This app isn’t for preschoolers. It would be appropriate for parents and elementary kids to sit down together and work through the problems (if the parent could resist taking over!). I can see it sparking all kinds of conversations and tinkering with physical objects. This would also be a fantastic app to have available on children’s area tablets in the library or for free play in classrooms. The vast number of possibilities and the educational aspects make this app worth the in-app purchase price.

Awnali Mills works in the Children’s Dept. of a public library and she gets the snot scared out of her by sudden loud sounds coming out of apps she’s trying out. She blogs at The Librarian is on the Loose.
~*~
Little eLit is a collaborative think tank of professionals thinking about the topic of young children, new media, and libraries. Individuals who share their viewpoints, experiences, and presentations in Little eLit blog posts are expressing their personal views and do not represent Little eLit as a whole.

Dipdap: An app review, by Awnali Mills

Dipdap 002One of the hardest early literacy skills for me to add into storytime is writing. Holding a crayon, coloring, painting—all these activities help children develop the fine motor skills they will need to pick up a pencil in kindergarten and begin writing, and it’s necessary to model this for parents. But I confess that I rarely think to add writing skills into the storytime mix.  So, since we’re on a storytime break, I went looking for something to remedy this deficiency.  Success! I discovered a fun app that helps with these fine motor skills, and I’m looking forward to including it in our play time after stories. It’s called Dipdap by Cube Interactive and is available for iPad ($2.99), Android  ($1.99), and Kindle Fire ($1.99). Dipdap is a little critter who interacts with a child’s animated drawings.

There are two sections to Dipdap:

  1. There are 16 adventures available for play. A child can choose to play the adventure without interacting, or chose to interact by drawing. Dipdap wordlessly presents a scenario to the child, like trying to reach the stars. Little Dipdap jumps and jumps with all his might to try and reach the stars. Then, the dashed outline of a rocket is presented. The child traces the rocket outline (the outline can be turned off if desired), and can chose colors or any other add-ins he would like to draw. Then, Dipdap climbs into the drawn rocket and shoots off into space, bouncing off of stars as he goes. It’s pretty heady stuff for a cartoon character to jump into something you’ve drawn!
  2. There is also a drawing sketchpad in which the child can draw anything they would like. Dipdap sits at the bottom of the page and watches the drawing, actively moving his eyes to whatever part of the screen is being touched. He doesn’t interact with the drawing in any way besides watching it, but the drawing can be “photographed” and saved to the pictures section of the tablet.

There are no in-app purchases, and there are parental controls that allow you to change the music, sounds, and guides.  I think that it will work well to give each child who wants the opportunity a chance to play one of the adventures.  They only last a brief time and I’ll be able to move on to the next child who wants a chance.  I love it when a storytime plan comes together!

 

Awnali Mills works in the Children’s Dept. of a public library and she gets the snot scared out of her by sudden loud sounds coming out of apps she’s trying out. She blogs at The Librarian is on the Loose.
~*~
Little eLit is a collaborative think tank of professionals thinking about the topic of young children, new media, and libraries. Individuals who share their viewpoints, experiences, and presentations in Little eLit blog posts are expressing their personal views and do not represent Little eLit as a whole.

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site app review, by Awnali Mills

106Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld is a classic bedtime story.  Now, it’s a delightful children’s bedtime app.  Created by Oceanhouse Media and available on iTunes for $3.99, this book app has all the same elements children love plus movement, sound effects, and some delightful surprises.

The app brings the book’s illustrations to life with small movements and sound effects, but not so much that they distract from the story.  At the beginning, you are able to choose to read for yourself or have a narrator read to you.  As the narrator reads, each word in the text is highlighted.  A touch to anything on the screen brings up the noun for the object and the narrator says it, including any of the words in the text.  Some of the object touches bring up not just the word, but an action as well:  a vehicle rumbles, puddles splash, the bird sings. Great vocabulary shows up, with words like “spigot” and “cardinal.”  Lest you think that all this might be too exciting for little ones you’re trying to get into bed, be assured that the narrator’s voice is very soothing and the yawning and gentle snoring the vehicles were doing was enough to make me yawn in sympathy!

108As much as I love this app for the story alone, the thing that tips it into fantastic is that it allows you to record your own voice reading it.  I can just imagine grandparents reading this for grandchildren or a traveling or military parent being able to read their child to sleep from hundreds of miles away.  The app also lets you email your recording. This record function is very easy to use.  The info section on the home page tells you how to do it, but the interface is so simple that I didn’t need instructions to figure it out.  Even better, more than one person can record the story.  The voice options screen, accessible through the little blue arrow on the center bottom, allows you to choose which narrator you’d like to hear from.  The last person to record is the default for narration.

The only thing I disliked, and it was a preference really, were the home screen buttons for the Bookshelf, which offers an app to corral your OM apps, and Apps, which takes you to the app store.  I’d have liked the ability to eliminate these from the screen.

I’m a cheapskate, and don’t usually pay much for apps, but this is totally worth the $3.99 price tag, especially if you’d like someone far away to be able to read to your child each night.

Awnali Mills works in the Children’s Dept. of a public library and she gets the snot scared out of her by sudden loud sounds coming out of apps she’s trying out. She blogs at The Librarian is on the Loose.
~*~
Little eLit is a collaborative think tank of professionals thinking about the topic of young children, new media, and libraries. Individuals who share their viewpoints, experiences, and presentations in Little eLit blog posts are expressing their personal views and do not represent Little eLit as a whole.

Finger Paint with Sounds app review, by Awnali Mills

fingerpaint 001Finger painting is a tremendous amount of fun. But let’s face it. It’s messy. Some kids hate getting their fingers dirty, and most adults hate cleaning up. Now the Finger Paint with Sounds app (iPad/Android) by Inclusive Technology Ltd. not only allows kids to finger paint without getting dirty, but also throws in the fun of music or sound effects.

The app provides clear directions for use; choices for no sound, music, or sound effects; multi-touch and single touch options; and contains no in-app purchases.

The blank screen has seven half-circles of color on the edges. Touch one of these and every touch on the screen after that is that color and has that individual sound until you touch another color. A double tap in the corner allows you to exit the screen or clear it. It’s that simple! Preschoolers adore this app, and the single touch selection lets them practice the fine motor skills they need for writing in kindergarten. It’s an Early Literacy Skills builder cleverly disguised as a lot of fun. Shhhhh—don’t tell!

fingerpaint 002During playtime after stories last week, I pulled this app out and let the kids go to town.  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  I had it on multi-touch so that more than one child could play at a time.  I sat down on the floor to hold the tablet, since we don’t yet have kid-friendly holders.  Immediately, I had kids crawling all over me, making various parts of my body lose circulation.  They were utterly glued to the screen, creating, making the sounds, exploring—it was a thing of beauty.  Then, I looked up to find parents clustered around us, too, and they promptly demanded to know what this fabulous app was and where they could get it.

I love that!

I used the app as a general playtime app, but it would also work great with a color storytime, or a music storytime.  Comment if you dream up any other uses!

Awnali Mills works in the Children’s Dept. of a public library and she gets the snot scared out of her by sudden loud sounds coming out of apps she’s trying out. She blogs at The Librarian is on the Loose.
~*~
Little eLit is a collaborative think tank of professionals thinking about the topic of young children, new media, and libraries. Individuals who share their viewpoints, experiences, and presentations in Little eLit blog posts are expressing their personal views and do not represent Little eLit as a whole.

BridgeBasher App Review, by Awnali Mills

Remember building with blocks?  The best part of all was knocking them down, right?  There was nothing quite as satisfying as the crash and scatter of those colorful blocks.  Well I just found an app that is almost as satisfying: BridgeBasher by Jundroo LLC, which combines construction, physics, scientific testing, and the pleasure of destruction (iPhone/iPad: $0.99/Android: Free).

Bridge BasherThe app opens with an offer to provide instructions—always a good thing in my book, as I am not always intuitive about apps.  Once you get past that, the app does have an ad for Simple Rockets, the newest app offered by the developer.  BridgeBasher is good enough to warrant overlooking this ad, and a button later on that offers the new app.

The next screen shows a picture of a span across a chasm with a grid of dots over it.  Lazy clouds float past.  Your job is to draw from dot to dot to create a bridge across the chasm.  Sounds ridiculously simple, doesn’t it?  Well, it is.  But the fun is just beginning.

Bridge Basher 2After you’ve created your bridge, you naturally have to test it.  After all, the game explains, you can’t really know how much your bridge will hold until it reaches the breaking point, right?  Press the arrow key in the top right corner to test the bridge’s strength.  You have three testing options: balls, words, and joint weights.  If you choose balls, you’ll be adding weighty balls to the bridge with touches until the bridge crashes.  Next, try the words (there is another ad button here for Simple Rockets).  These words rattle across the bridge like a train, describing the weight that they are imitating (Light, Not So Light, Kinda Heavy, etc).  The bridge will flex and bounce, and changes in color will demonstrate the stresses on the bridge and show you the weaknesses until the whole thing dramatically gives way.  Next, use a touch to add weights to the joints of the bridge.  This will also lead to eventual collapse.  Once you’re done with each test, the app gives you a score and a (sometimes snarky) comment about the strength of your bridge.  Build your bridge strong enough and the app will tell you to quit wasting time and go do something productive!  This was so unexpected that it made me laugh out loud.

Bridge Basher 3After each test, you have the ability to go back in and edit your bridge, strengthening or changing it.  The hammer in the top left allows you to remove part of the bridge, or the entire thing.  The top left arrow is an undo button, and the list button in the top right corner is your Help, Save, and Load button.  BridgeBasher also gives you the option of sharing your bridges with friends so they can destroy them, too.  A small button at the top middle gives you the cost of the bridge as you’re building it.

I think this app would be the perfect addition to any elementary- to high school-age program that is exploring the physics of construction.  It was certainly addictive enough to keep me playing!

 

Awnali Mills works in the Children’s Dept. of a public library and she gets the snot scared out of her by sudden loud sounds coming out of apps she’s trying out. She blogs at The Librarian is on the Loose.
~*~
Little eLit is a collaborative think tank of professionals thinking about the topic of young children, new media, and libraries. Individuals who share their viewpoints, experiences, and presentations in Little eLit blog posts are expressing their personal views and do not represent Little eLit as a whole.

BBC Earth Walking with Dinosaurs: An app review, by Awnali Mills

As far as children are concerned, dinosaurs are right up there with pony rides, no bedtime, and unlimited ice cream. So naturally, you’ve gotta do dinosaur story times. And what could be better than an app that shows these amazing creatures in action? Not much. In my story time last week, the app BBC Earth: Walking with Dinosaurs made them come to life and the children went nuts.

Dinosaur SitesThe home page of the app has three different options. “Features” provides different screens with general information about dinosaurs and their environment, the different periods (Jurassic, etc.), famous discovery sites, how fossils are formed and excavated, and divisions of dinosaurs. “Dinosaur Hunters” offers a roll call of famous dinosaur hunters with portraits of them and short biographies.

The really fun option, and what I used in story time, is simply titled “Dinosaurs.” Pictures of dinosaur species float above a landscape in alphabetical order. These can be scrolled through and tapped on. Once a dino is chosen, a new screen is presented in which that dinosaur is shown walking along, looking around, and making noise. On the right side of the screen is listed the name and pronunciation, what the name means, and a brief overview of the dinosaur. A touch on the speaker button activates a narrator who reads the information to you—helpful for young users. Another button allows you to share the information on the slide either by email or Facebook. If you tap on the dinosaur, the information disappears, while the creature remains, trotting along in a darkened landscape. A swipe takes you to the next dinosaur in the alphabet, or a tap brings the information back.

CloseupTouching the button on the center bottom takes you to a 3D 360° view of the dinosaur with more detailed information about it. A tap on the magnify button or the dinosaur allows you to see even more detail. Some expansions even show the dino eggs, or prey, or the creature defending itself or attacking other dinosaurs. These screens didn’t always respond readily, but a swipe to another screen and back seemed to fix the problem.

For my story time, I had set up the app to Carnotaurus so that he was already on the screen when I opened the iPad. I had blanked the information and just had the dinosaur walking and making noise. Ho-boy! The kids were thrilled and the chatter exploded. I made everyone sit down and then I brought up the information with a tap and read the name to them. Then, I swiped to Ceratosaurus, then Citipati and finally, Coelophysis. The kids weren’t even close to being done looking, but the storytime needed to move along. Normally, I would have let the kids play with it during playtime after stories, but it was our craft week. I may bring back the app after another storytime and let the kids play then.

As mentioned, there’s one spot where the screens don’t respond like they should, and although you can see the dinosaurs clearly and everything is readable, I disliked that the screens and backgrounds were all so dark—but that’s a personal preference. The app might feel scary for some younger users because of the realistic movements and sounds, but my preschoolers did just fine. You get a whole lot of app for $4.99, and I managed to download it for free during one of the promotional times, so it was an even better deal. An ideal app for dinosaur lovers of all ages.

Dinosaurs

Awnali Mills works in the Children’s Dept. of a public library and she gets the snot scared out of her by sudden loud sounds coming out of apps she’s trying out. She blogs at The Librarian is on the Loose.
~*~
Little eLit is a collaborative think tank of professionals thinking about the topic of young children, new media, and libraries. Individuals who share their viewpoints, experiences, and presentations in Little eLit blog posts are expressing their personal views and do not represent Little eLit as a whole.

Happy Travels by Jack: A Review, by Awnali Mills

Happy Travels by JackHappy Travels by Jack is an app designed by (wait for it…) a five year old! Helped on the technical end by his mom and dad, Jack has created an adventure game where the player completes “chapters” in the game to get to the next chapter. According to this article, “The artwork and imagery in the game are entirely of Jack’s own design, which he creates using pencils and Crayola® crayons. Everything from the backgrounds to the vehicles to the enemies are dreamed up and drawn by Jack. Mommy then scans the illustrations and Daddy codes them to come to life exactly as Jack envisions them.” The game is a great example of family engagement and cooperation.

After several introductory screens, and links to books available for purchase, the player can finally begin the game. Using a finger to control a boat, the player must avoid treasure stealing jellyfish and capture the treasure chests. Once the player has collected 10 each of two kinds of treasure, the next chapter is opened.

I’m not a five year old. I get that. But I found the first “chapter” to take quite a while to play and was getting irritated and tired of it by the time I earned enough treasure to get to the second chapter. Imagine my dismay when the second chapter was more of the first, but with swarms of chewing fish that eat holes in boats instead of jellyfish that just steal my treasure. I ran my boat into the fish just to make it stop. Unless you successfully complete the second chapter, you can’t go on to the others, and frankly, I don’t want to know what happens next badly enough to endure chapter two.

This was obviously a money making endeavor for Jack and his folks, which is a wonderful thing. But I found the number of in-app purchases to be off-putting. I doubt I would put it in the hands of a child for that reason alone (I REALLY dislike in-app purchases, but that’s just me).

I liked that Jack did the artwork himself, and I liked the bit of story that we were given. I would have liked to have seen more story, but we might have to wait until Jack is, I don’t know, six? It was a fantastic first effort, and could be used as inspiration to other children to show them what children can do.

Awnali Mills works in the Children’s Dept. of a public library and she gets the snot scared out of her by sudden loud sounds coming out of apps she’s trying out. She blogs at The Librarian is on the Loose.
~*~
Little eLit is a collaborative think tank of professionals thinking about the topic of young children, new media, and libraries. Individuals who share their viewpoints, experiences, and presentations in Little eLit blog posts are expressing their personal views and do not represent Little eLit as a whole.

Finger Works Pro: Amazing in Storytime, by Awnali Mills

It can be difficult to find great activities to do for a Fourth of July storytime, but Finger Works Pro: Amazing was a perfect find for me. I managed to download it when it was free and have enjoyed playing with it ever since, vowing that I would somehow find a way to work it into storytime even though it has no apparent literary value.

Purple two fingers Red following

I could do this!

Then, I was looking for activities to incorporate into my Fourth of July storytime, and remembered this app. It was perfect for a play time activity, and very “fireworkish”. The app is simple. Soft music plays while tiny points of light with little tails roam across the screen, much like a large school of fish. Ah, but when you touch the screen, those lights begin to follow the movement of your fingers, or respond to stationary touch by creating beautiful fireworks-like formations, while the lights gradually change colors. I could literally sit for hours playing with this.

yellow three fingers Purple one finger

Many of my storytime kids don’t have a lot of access to technology, so this was a great introductory app to help them figure out that they could touch the screen and that it would respond to them. The kids were anxious to get their hands on it. I held the iPad and directed the kids to take turns. Up to two kids could touch it at a time, and it was neat to see the interactions created on the app by the different touches.

Green following Red three fingers

Awnali Mills works in the Children’s Dept. of a public library and she gets the snot scared out of her by sudden loud sounds coming out of apps she’s trying out. She blogs at The Librarian is on the Loose.
~*~
Little eLit is a collaborative think tank of professionals thinking about the topic of young children, new media, and libraries. Individuals who share their viewpoints, experiences, and presentations in Little eLit blog posts are expressing their personal views and do not represent Little eLit as a whole.