Four new iPads are now installed in the children’s department of the Kingwood Branch Library, thanks to a generous grant from the Kinder Morgan Foundation. Because digital literacy is paramount to the success of young people today, beginning at the preschool level and continuing throughout their lives, the Friends of the Library-Kingwood (FOLK) requested the grant.
Previously the children’s department had four desktop computers designed for educational programs. The department now has only three, as they constantly require service and one has been rendered completely inoperable. These PCs focused on toddlers and early learning. “The iPads are much less expensive to purchase and operate and they have fewer service problems inherent with their use,” said Kingwood Branch Librarian Christi Whittington. “With the addition of the iPads we are now able to focus on pre-school and elementary programs so we can offer literacy games from toddlers through the elementary grades.”
The grant included funds for software, so the iPads are loaded with educational games and websites that can be used by the children. The games have been selected from credible websites like Parents.com, the website of Parents Magazine, and other educational providers. Just some of the apps are listed here.
Reading Raven is a fun and engaging phonics based program for ages 3-7.
Rocket Math is an exciting way to learn math by launching realistic rockets into orbit after solving four problems successfully; recommended for grades 1 and 5+.
Shake-a-Phrase is designated as a best app because it gives children inspiration to start writing, plus quizzes them on verbs, nouns and adjectives. Although this is recommended on a kids’ app site, the app is equally useful for anyone needing a little nudge to get over writers block. On a practical and educational level, Shake-a-Phrase helps children with writing ideas.
Sid and Science Kid Read and Play is packed with stories and fun activities aimed at developing early science exploration. It features two storybooks, jokes, games, sing-along music videos, coloring pages and more.
Toontastic teaches key storytelling skills that help to promote creativity at a young age and map directly to Common Core standards for K-5 classrooms. It is a storytelling and creative learning tool that enables kids to draw, animate and share their own cartoons.
Where’s My Water” is a Game of the Year physics based puzzle with amazing lifelike mechanics.
World Book’s World of Animals is an extraordinary educational app that gives kids of all ages plenty of opportunities to explore, compare, rank and quiz themselves on their favorite animals. This interactive app features hundreds of stunning pictures, videos and animal sounds, quick facts, encyclopedia articles, a captivating educational game and more.
The apps and programs can be updated when needed and as new ones are developed, they can be added with a few keystrokes by the staff. Also, the security of the iPad content was planned with the installation. The librarians monitor the usage and can reset any settings if needed. The iPads are not meant to be portable and are mounted on existing end-panel desks.
Most successful libraries rely on Friends groups for funding. FOLK supports the Kingwood Branch Library with funds from the sale of used books, grant requests, and donations and membership dues from people in the community.