Video courtesy of dano2toys
As a dedicated gadget fan, I’m always interested in how technology in general and gadgets in particular can enhance learning. But, that doesn’t mean that I believe technology is always the answer to better learning. So, I approached this press release with a healthy amount of skepticism.
Little Sky Writers is a $1.99 iPad app that makes the process of learning to write an entertaining one for young children (kindergarten age). I noticed that the children were writing with their fingertips as one might expect any iPad user to interact with the device. I wondered if this instrument-less writing translated later to using writing tools like crayons and pencils. So, I asked DANO2′ Toys’ Chelsea Monahan. Here’s her response:
The app can be used two ways: with a finger or with a stylus. We’ve tested it both ways, and it has worked great! We are actually working with TenOne Designs right now, and will be offering styluses as an option for our test Kindergartens, and possibly a discount on their styluses in the future for our app customers (though nothing is yet set in stone).
On the other hand, much of our target audience is too impatient or young to practice holding a pencil. Our goal is to build muscle memory of the letters so that once a writing instrument is given, the child is able to learn to write painlessly. His arm has the stored muscle memory already. The theory has worked really well in our focus groups- especially with small children and children with shorter attention spans.
It would be interesting to have a bit more empirical evidence. But, Chelsea’s response seems like a reasonable one to me. And, the app seems like something 4 to 6 year olds would enjoy and encourage writing.