Monday, January 10, 2011

IPads and little people

Over the past couple of weeks I have had the opportunity to share my iPad with some little people - two year olds and it has been quite interesting watching them learn how to use it and what they figure out to do on it.

The first time was in a long plane ride where I had an active 2 year old sitting next to me that was not mine. I introduced the iPad to him when he started screaming from fatigue to see if it would shut him up - it did and he was quite interested in it. I unfortunately did not have enough young games that he could manage, so we stuck with ' jot and Miss Spiders tea party ebook. It took about 20 minutes for him to figure out the touch technology properly (don't lean on the screen, single finger touch) as this was quite hard to learn due to its uniqueness to him.

Once he had that mastered, he then very quickly figured about the drag and pointing to make things happen. He enjoyed jot and the magic his finger made as it crossed the screen. I found I still had to be very hands on in the interaction he had. The device certainly not a babysitter at this age, but it achieved the goal of settling him down and tiring him out enough for sleeping.

The second two year also had problems learning how to use the interface, but once she had it figured out she moved along very quickly in learning how to navigate and what the big button at the bottom of the screen did. She was engaged with some of the games I had, however, I still found many of them too advanced in the thinking and fine motor skills for this age group. It was also a very hands on session for me ensuring she didn't accidently press the upgrade button on the 'lite' games I had installed. The buttons I am sure, are all very strategically placed on the games to be accidently pressed.

So this limited experience of introducing an iPad to two year olds was an interesting exercise in seeing what skills need to be learned for such a device, and, I am not sure if it would be useful for this age group as a learning tool, but they were certainly engaged and enchanted with the device and the apps I introduced them to. So maybe with the right apps it could be useful - that will be the next experiment!

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