Tiny Tap: Using the iPad to enhance learning opportunities
and progress for all pupils including those with Special Educational Needs
Tiny Tap is a free app produced by Tiny Tap Ltd. It is an excellent app for creating personal games and activities for children using the iPad. It allows anyone from toddlers to their grandparents to play and create simple educational games, simply by using their own photos and recording questions. Tiny Tap makes playing and learning engaging and personal! It’s free and resources made using it can be shared to multiple devices and with the wider community of Tiny Tap users. Activities can be completely personalised and pupil or teacher led.
The basic function of the app is that by adding spoken questions to a photograph and highlighting the answer, touch-screen games can be quickly and effortlessly produced and linked to any subject imaginable. Books, games, interactive stories, photo albums and classroom activities are just some of the ways this app can be used to make an impact in the classroom.
The app can be used to develop vocabulary, naming and labelling skills. Examples include recognising colours, animals, items of clothing, letters, and numbers, in fact absolutely anything. A photo or screen capture image can be imported into the app easily and questions added, such as “Where is the pink car?” or “Point to the number three.” Pupils can then complete the task and a score is given at the end allowing simple assessment to take place.
The app is so easy to use that very young children can easily create their own games and quizzes, linked to any topic at all. All they have to do is ask their own questions, highlight the answers and share their game with someone else. This, in turn, promotes speaking and listening opportunities, turn-taking and social development as well as the concept that using technology can be an interactive experience.
Pupils with Special Educational Needs:
Tiny Tap can really support the delivery of individual learning programmes and
IEPs ( Individual Education Plans).The focus can be set to meet an individual target and can be used to give pupils practice and to assess progress has been made before moving on to further learning. For example, a child who has needs to understand prepositions could be presented with a Tiny Tap game which contains a picture of everyday items and the questions could be based around their understanding of prepositions for example “What is under the chair?” This can be applied quickly and easily to a countless number of objectives and would very quickly lead to a large bank of interactive and engaging activities which are pitched at the precise level a pupil’s learning and are able to demonstrate progress. The app allows personalised learning resources to be used quickly, easily, regularly and in a fun and engaging way.
The Tiny Tap is also very powerful when teaching and practising sequencing skills. Pictures can be presented out of order based on a familiar story, an event or activity or a regular routine. The concept of ordering and sequencing can be practised and assessed in a range of contexts. Once more, the impact on learning when pupils have the opportunity to create their own activities to present to others is very powerful.
Other worthwhile uses with pupils who have Special Educational Needs include identification of emotions, fine-motor co-ordination and responding to increasingly complex instructions, for instance increasing the word-level of tasks in the game such as “Where is the small grey dog?” rather than “Where is the dog?” The potential for personalised perfectly matched engaging relevant learning activities for pupils with Special Educational Needs is exciting and absolutely huge.
Literacy: Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation
The name Tiny Tap may be misleading as the power of the app as a learning tool goes much further than Key Stage 1. As a spelling tool it can provide children valuable practice with games based around spelling errors. A list of spelling choices could be shown and the question could be “Which is the correct spelling?” or “Which word is spelt wrong?” Again, the app allows a score to be given so pupils can assess their own progress and teachers can keep track too, the app could be used to give spelling tests in this way.
To develop skills in the conventions of grammar sentences can be presented as part of the game with questions relating to word classification, “Which word is an adverb?” or “Where is the Proper Noun?” It all allows opportunities for practice, assessment and collaborative work. The pupils are able to create their own challenges for each other and the app enables effective, focused peer tutoring to take place.
Maths: Answer and Create questions
Once the idea of using the app to create interactive activities with assessment features the potential is limitless. In maths children can answer basic calculation questions which can be pitched at any level. One activity which has been effective is to have a picture of a 100 square and ask pupils to add and subtract different amounts. For example “Start at 50, add 17, subtract 20 ….” Children can, of course create their own games and in doing so also gain maths practice through ensuring their answers are correct.
Further opportunities to make effective use of Tiny Tap
The app can be used to support anyone learning new vocabulary, in any language. Simply by using pictures of familiar places and people it can help pupils who speak English as and additional language, to gain confidence and understanding. The most effective use as a learning tool is when pupils record their own questions. It can be used to support the teaching and learning of Modern Foreign Languages, Scientific vocabulary and Geographical features. Literally….ANYTHING. In effect this app shows a way in which technology can easily be used to teach, assess, and provide valuable learning opportunities in any subject and context and at any level of learning.