Art of the iPad

Posted by Jonathan Gay, Apr 22, 2011 2 comments

Jonathan Gay

When the iPad was introduced in 2010, the evolution of computer made five giant steps forward.

We were presented with a variety of uses including board games, books, and media.

This technology had its hand in the growth of business and pleasure, but what could this device mean for education, or even more specifically, in early childhood education?

As an art project manager for a preschool in Newtown, PA, I took that question one step further in a project I titled, “Art of the iPad.”

I believe that instead of fearing technology, now is the time to embrace it. I believe we must take steps to harness and adapt technology for children.

Something as simple as a touch screen device can have an impact on a child. The question that remained was how could I use this device in a way that would take a snapshot of the artistic mind of a child?  

I decided to research the variety of art applications available and found many were devoted to children, but that was not what I was fully looking for.

After exploring a litany of apps, I discovered ArtRage.

A feature of this program that grabbed me was the multitude of options available to the user. ArtRage provided not only color selections but also a variety of tools, including paint brushes, markers, pencils, crayons, pastels, and even spray paint.

I wondered if this app could be the key to help make my idea a reality.

I began the day with my iPad in tow and an attitude of excitement as I set up my workstation and invited the first child to come to my table. His eyes opened with eagerness and wonder as if a strange alien had transported itself onto the desk.

I watched him scan up and down the device and I watched as a sudden spark lit up the room as soon as the student touched the screen for the first time.

The iPad effectively uses the touch screen at a high level of potential. All it took was for me to instruct the child to place his finger on the screen and glide across it.

His eyes continued to light up as he looked from his fingers to the screen.

I am sure this must have felt magical as all of a sudden his finger became a burgundy crayon that produced a line across the page.

My favorite part was seeing how quickly the kids adapted to this application.

Without any assistance, one child instinctively changed the color from a dark blue to a pastel green.

As you can see, the variety that was produced by this project was amazing.

The children produced art work by using crayons or paint that were mixed together to form a new color.

One child in particular used an eraser on a painted picture to create white lines that displayed immense creativity.

Another child created a painting that hearkened to a minimalist art era. Others applied layer upon layer building a texture that looked real to the passer by.

I began to see formations and styles that would not normally be associated with a specific age group.

Artistic creations began to be transcend age groupings.

I brought the tools to the students and without any form of structure or editing by the teacher, we experienced freedom in artistic creativity.

You may have all seen the ads for the Kindle, the iPad, and many other technological gadgets, but I wonder if we have ever seriously considered about broadening their uses in order to impact children regardless of age.

I recently watched a video about how instructors have used the iPad as a communication device for those who do not have a voice.

While I do not compare what I did to this, I believe that when we view these projects we are experiencing the communication of emotion and imagery through art.

What ways have you seen technology, or the potential for technology, being used to make the arts more accessible?

2 responses for Art of the iPad


April 26, 2011 at 11:44 am

Thanks for the overview!

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May 17, 2012 at 11:58 am

How would you like to write an article about this for SchoolArts Magazine? Thanks!

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