Sunday, July 8, 2012

Interactive Stories for the iPad

I'm new to the iPad, so this post only touches the surface (bwa-ha-ha-ha) of what the iPad offers. The issues that I've found while researching for this post is that while there are a lot of interactive stories for the iPad, many are too young or too old for an upper elementary classroom.

I've also decided not to include anything that is Disney related, or uninspired (such as story-lines that center around magical pajamas). Under this strict criteria, that pretty much strips me of most of my content. But there are a few remaining interactive stories that are age appropriate and that I think are either excellent (or have the potential to be).

Upper Elementary Apps

Alice For The iPad
We'll start with a classic- both the story and the app. I first decided I wanted an iPad after my brother sent me this trailer.

I love doing book club groups with this book and its sequel, and I hate the "packaging" that most versions of this book come in:


Most covers look awful, and for some reason publishers have a desire to make the font of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland super tiny. I hate how publishers treat this book! So whenever I introduced this book to my class, I'd reformat it. The book in it's entirety can be found online, so I slapped the text into a word document, increased the font, and intercut it with colorful pictures from the Tim Burton movie.
much prettier

So I was excited when I first saw this trailer, and I realized that the iPad had some amazing potential to give great writing the "packaging" it deserved.

Bottom of the Ninth by Ryan Woodward
The Bottom of the Ninth is fantastic. It's beautiful, interesting, and creative. The plot can be used to discuss big ideas such as gender discrimination at recess, since it's about a female breaking into an all-male sport. There is only one issue so far, and I could see how it could quickly turn non-age appropriate, but I really hope it stays relatively safe for children.

The Fantastic Flying Books Of Mr. Morris Lessmore
This is a simple children's story that follows the movie verbatim. If you haven't seen the movie, take 15 minutes out of your life and watch it below. I like this story app because it's my favorite kind of picture book- the kind that anyone can read but still asks big questions. In this case the entire story celebrates words and books. Life just isn't complete (or have as much color) without them.

(after the jump: middle school apps that are great reads)

Middle School Apps
I so wanted the following titles to be okay for upper elementary. They're close but they're not. I'm including them anyway because they are so interesting. I'll let the videos for each one do the discussion for me.

CIA: Operation Ajax by Cognito Comics. A true story about a truly interesting period of time, this one has some language that turned me off for the upper elementary classroom.

Re:Active Comics: 3 free stories in one app. The coolest story in this collection is the 360 degree mystery. Unfortunately, there's too much sexual innuendo for a 9 year old.

So what did I miss? If you have any recommendations I would love to hear them!

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