We all know the iPad is not just for adults, and there are few better examples of how a digital app can help children engage with writing than the creative app Write About This ($3.99, free demo version).
Write About This may well be the writing tool you wish you had in school, and one that you should put in the hands of your child. This is app is not about playing games, it’s about inviting children to write and save their writing in a portfolio where it can be shared and archived for years to come. It belongs with the rest of the great interactive educational apps for young students.
How It Works
You might first be thinking that kids should be learning how to handwrite, rather than being encouraged to type on an iPad – but why limit children to one mode of writing? Write About This is an interactive app that uses the power of images, along with writing prompts, to inspire kids to write.
Users of the app can choose from (in the full version) hundreds of images, and custom photos, from a wide range of categories (including adventure, animals, hobbies, places, school and recreation), and write a response to the image in their writer’s notebook.
The selected image and prompt appears in the user’s notebook for writing and/or voice recording responses. The notebook design provides an analog paper and handwriting style font, appropriate for the classroom.
When the writing is completed, it can be saved to the user’s gallery where it can be shared via email and also saved to the Camera Roll.
The app settings allow for parents or teachers to enable and disables features in the app, including whether or not to include text prompts, voice prompts, spell check, email sharing, or quick delete.
The app also contains three different prompt levels, from personal prompts (“When do you get really bored? What do you do to pass the time?”) to prompts that tap into the creative imagination (“Finish this story: I didn’t think that lions made good pets, until one day…”)
Custom photos and prompts can also be added to the app, allowing educators to use photos taken during a class field trip as writing prompts the next day in class or for homework. Students could write responses to prompts in other genres, such as poems, letters, short fiction, lists, and journal writing. And there’s no reason why custom shots of science experiments couldn’t be uploaded and responded to using the app.
Write About This could be used for writing and publishing longer pieces of writing drafted and revised on regular sheets of paper, and the final drafts published in the user’s writing portfolio gallery.
The developer also made it so that more than one user profile can be added to the app — very useful in cases where the iPad is shared by multiple students in a classroom.
Practical and User Friendly
The free version of Write About This provides 50 leveled text and voice prompts and all the features of the full version, including the prompt creation and digital publishing tools. The full version provides 125 unique photos, 375 leveled audio prompts, unlimited profiles, and fully loaded categories.
For teachers and parents looking for a way to make the iPad more than a gaming device for their kids, Write About This is well worth the investment of the full version. This app is an excellent model of how the iPad can and should be used in the classroom. And it looks and works especially well on the larger size iPad.
Let us know what you think about Write About This and what additional features, if any, you would like to see added.