OBSERVATIONS · pre-writing · technology

A Toddler, an iPad, and a Stylus

I can only get Isabelle to practice her pre-writing skills with crayons when she’s in the mood to do it. She prefers to scribble with as many colors as possible rather than doing something structured. I can’t exactly blame her. After all, she’s three!

So on the first of two snow/ice days this week, I took out my iPad and stylus with the intention of getting her to draw lines from left to right. We talked about taking turns with the stylus (which took a few minutes to get down-pat). After several minutes of giving her a chance to practice using the stylus, by doodling in my Noteshelf App, I got her to do something more structured.

I drew a green “x” and a red “x” on the page. Then, I changed the color over to gray. From there, I showed her how to start on the left (because green means go) and how to stop once the stylus reached the right side of the iPad (because red means stop). It took several tries (gotta love the “undo” feature in Noteshelf!) for her to get it, but eventually she was able to zoom across the page with the stylus.

Practicing left to write line movements was much more enjoyable for Isabelle than doing it on paper with crayons. However, I’m concerned about doing this all of the time for two reasons:
1) Regardless of the fact that we live in the 21st century, I believe she needs to learn how to write properly on paper.
2) She doesn’t need to press as hard on the iPad, with the stylus, as she would have to press on a piece of paper. Doing too much practice on an iPad might impede her paper/pencil use once she gets to school.
Like so many other things, I have a feeling this needs to be about balance.

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