One of the things that teachers enjoy is to use game creation as a fun way to engage their students. On the iPad, there don’t appear to be many apps for game creation. TinyTap does stand out.
It is a simple way to create a game using any image. Choose an image, ask a question and mark on the image where the answer is.
I have become quite a fan of this deceptively simple idea. In my work with quite a few groups of teachers, we have been able to find some novel uses of this.
For instance, kindergarten children have used it to make games to identify an object starting with a given alphabet and also for numeracy to identify the correct number of counters. The amazing part is not that the teachers were creating the games for the children to play, instead it has been the children who got involved in arranging objects, taking the photo and then creating these games.
Having to deal with what is the incorrect answer and then when they play each other’s game to further reinforce their learning over and over and in a fun way: these are the powerful features of such an activity.
This past week, a secondary school Biology teacher used it in an introductory lesson about the eye. The aim was to introduce the names of 14 parts of the eye, and previously, this would have meant the teacher introducing each part and then conclude with a simple quiz in which the students would label a picture of the eye. This time, the students were to create games using TinyTap.
As we were planning, the question I had was whether TinyTap would appear too childish for a group of 16 year olds.
When the app was first introduced, there were some squeals about how cutesy the game looked. But soon as the game creation started, the level of engagement was wonderful. These students also enjoyed going through their classmate’s games.
The childish interface did not seem to be a problem at all.
In an end of the lesson assessment using Skitch, the teacher found that on average, the students were able to get 10 of the 14 parts correctly labelled. He was impressed.
So am I.