Creation for Early Learners Using the iPad

One of the greatest misperceptions about our youngest learners and meaningful technology use, is they “are too young” to be able to do that. Since the beginning of this blog, I’ve had hundreds of visitors in my kindergarten classroom to see my “littles” in action creating and demonstrating learning with an iPad. I would present and share their work to a variety of  educators, who would often respond, “My kids can’t do that”. My nearly 30 years as an early childhood educator have proven to me that isn’t the case. Our youngest learners are alive with imagination and creativity. I’ve watched them turn a stick found on the playground into a magic wand granting fairy wishes or into a rocket ship blasting off into space. I’ve watched them play football with absolutely nothing but a pretend ball and 4 boys who were sure they were the ones who caught it. I’ve seen paintings described by the young artist in minute detail that would stump the most astute Rorschach interpreter. Yes,  my friends, our young children can create. But, how often are we allowing them to explore this creativity? When do our students stop “pretending” or “imagining”?  When we prescribe worksheets or other standardized activities with rigid learning outcomes, we rob our students of the ability to create their own learning. When we get “busy” with teaching standards and ensuring compliance, we can stifle imaginations and communicate the not-so-subtle message of my way or the highway. This also creates a crippling effect in our students of needing affirmation every step of the way for fear of doing something wrong. (Is this right? Is THIS right? What do I do next?)

Recently, I was given the very great honor by Apple to provide appropriate learning activities for young learners in the areas of drawing, photography, video,  and music. I worked with another good friend and Apple Distinguished Educator from Canada, Gillian Madeley, to create project ideas, as well as cross-curricular activities in these same areas. The project was recently published as Everyone Can Create Teacher Guide for Early Learners. You can download the book free here.

This guide is a companion to the Everyone Can Create series also found in the iBook Store for grades 4 and up. Here is a screen shot from the Early Learner’s Teacher Guide:

The guide provides easy to follow lessons for teachers of young children to engage them in the creative process. Each section builds to a culminating project. There are also ideas for cross-curricular ideas in each medium. You don’t have to be an art teacher, media teacher or music teacher to incorporate these ideas. You just have to be willing to try some new things and give your students an opportunity to explore their creativity,

Take a look and let me know what you think. I would love your feedback!


2 thoughts on “Creation for Early Learners Using the iPad

  1. Dear Kristi, I have been meaning to write to you for several years. I want to thank you for the inspiration that you have given me to be “try” iPads with my kindergarten littles.

    About 4 years ago I wrote a proposal for my principal and superintendent requesting everything that I would need to embark on a 1 to 1 iPad classroom. I did two months of background reading to see how others used iPads with the littlest littles. That is when I found your blog. I teach in Wisconsin, my childhood state, but before returning I taught at Sangaree Elementary in Berkeley Co, SC. So when I came across your blog I thought, “Hey, technology with kinders, and Awwww….a fellow SC teacher.” I read every one of your entries!

    My proposal was approved and within a couple months I had everything I needed to start implementing technology in a big way. I LOVE IT and so do my children. We used iPads daily in very meaningful ways. Explain Everything and Book Creator are favorite apps. I also use Mimio Mobile a lot (our interactive white board program). With that program I can send work work to the children and pull it back again. I have worked with Showbie some, used QR codes, and also the iPad included apps.

    My principal is always stunned when she visits my classroom as the children are using their iPads because she sees how effectively I am able to teach the same concept that the other kindergarten teachers are teaching, but my children are SO much more engaged. They collaborate automatically, show higher level thinking without prompting, and receive immediate feedback. If only we could convince the others to be brave and trust the children.

    I am still startled sometimes to see how efficient the children become after just one tutorial within a newly introduced app. They very quickly learn to import pictures they have found or taken, change them up, write about them and then airdrop to their friends. Sometimes they make things happen so quickly even I have a hard time keeping up. The children teach me new things all time too!

    I can’t wait to see what the children teach me in the upcoming school year.

    Thank you so much for all that you have shared! Carmen Larson

    Sent from my iPad


    • Carmen,
      Thank you so much for taking time to write. I am thrilled that my experiences were able to help you. It sounds like your classroom is a wonderful place to learn!
      Best wishes in your upcoming school year!

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