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Using the iPad app TinyTap to make educational games

02:58 Jamie Edmondson 2 Comments Category : , , , , , , ,

                                  

As a treat, I sometimes let my eldest son go on the iPad. Like most three year olds he loves playing on games featuring his favourite TV characters and whilst I must admit that some of these games are very good, I decided that, in readiness for starting nursery school in September, I would make some games that had more of a specific, educational purpose, for him to play on instead! TinyTap, is an app that I know very well, having used it within my teaching and through demonstrating it to colleagues at training days and table hosting at events such as Speed learning. However, having not taught in early years for any sustained period of time recently, I first decided to refresh my memory of the early learning goals, in order to be clear about what is expected of him by the end of EYFS. I then decided to make some games that would help him to practice skills within these key areas. Here is a video showing you how I made a game, using dinosaurs, to help him with the early learning goal:



“The child understands and uses the appropriate language to compare quantities such as biggest, smaller, heavier, lightest and tallest.”


(sorry about the shaky video quality, I was not able to access my usual Screen casting software, so it was recorded on my phone)!


I believe that technology should never be used a substitute for good teaching and that it should only be used if it actually enhances what is being taught. For example, this game, that I made on recognising different amounts of money would never be used as a substitute for the actual experience of handling money in the kind of role play type activities that go in EYFS. However, it did give me a really good understanding of where he is at in terms of:

“Beginning to use everyday language related to money.” 

In essence, it served as a valuable assessment tool. We have done a lot of work with him around numbers, especially counting, but haven’t really taught him anything directly about money. Observing him playing the game, enabled me to see which areas he’s not yet secure with (recognising 50p, 20p coins and familiarity with some of the specific language of money, seemed to be the obvious ones) and areas where he’s stronger (numbers up to 10 and recognising notes). Have a look at this video of him playing some of the game for the first time...

                                            

Adding video

The makers of TinyTap have recently added the option to include videos from Youtube. This could be particularly useful in designing games for older children; perhaps using one of the thousands of educational youtube videos to introduce or recap a specific topic. In this game, though, I first made my own video, using the Screen casting app Explain Everything. This was then added to the start of the game to act as an introduction to the early learning goal:

"The child finds how many objects there are in two groups by combining and counting them." 


I then posted it to my Youtube page before then placing it on the initial page of the game. 
Check out this game too, which focuses on the early learning goal of:

" ...say which number is 1 more or 1 less than a given number."

Literacy

TinyTap is particularly ideal for creating your own phonics or sentence/word based games such as this one, focussing on the early learning goal of:

"...recognising, exploring and working with rhyming patterns"

There are some great phonics apps such as PocketPhonics for example, but most are American made, and the different phoneme pronunciations can cause confusion. A far better idea, in my opinion (and now you have seen how easy they are to make), is to create your own phonics games, such as this one, and tailor them specifically to the needs and interests of the children you are designing them for.

You can see all the games I made, as well as a  range of other games that myself and colleagues I have worked with, have made for various ages and areas of the curriculum on my Tiny tap page


Uses of TinyTap in the classroom


image: http://worldartsme.com/student-using-ipad-clipart.html

If you (or indeed your class) are planning on making your own TinyTap games, it’s useful to know that you can share them directly to your schools twitter feed. If you have made a game for your class (or a group or individual child), you could direct them to your school's twitter feed and perhaps get them to play the game as a plenary or mini plenary activity. I have also found that getting older children to make their own games can be extremely useful too. You could give the children an objective and ask them to make a game that requires the player to demonstrate that skill whilst playing it. When I taught in year 4, the children in my class did a similar thing to what I’ve done here, and made games for the children in nursey to play on. Having them shared to your schools twitter feed also encourages parents and friends to go on and is great publicity for the games that have been made!

Tiny Tap forms the basis of Unit 4.3 of my Computing scheme of work, which can be found here

If you would like more help or information in using TinyTap to create personalised, educational games for children please get in touch.

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2 comments

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  2. YOu can go to this website to play many games related education. However, there are some games at igrice za dvoje but to play pure learning games for kids and educational games for kids you can visit physicsgames.net. ONe more website also contains learning games you can visit this site also to play educational games for kids.

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