This week is Vacation Bible School at my church Bartlett Methodist. The exciting and fun theme for the kids is Galactic Blast!, which has been a blast. I have been leading the Discovery Time, which is focused on science and particularly earth sciences and physics. So each night during the week, we have been experimenting with a individual experiments and then we have a whole group time, too. On Tuesday night, though, the individual experiment didn’t take long and I wanted to show the kids some of the most recent images from space, especially some of those from the Hubble Space Telescope.
I decided to bring my iPad and project some of the images for the kids. Like others have discussed, you can’t just project on your iPad. In fact, the individual applications have to release the video out (check out this spreadsheet for the list). One application that I’ve really had a lot of success with video out is GoodReader. It’s a great application, and it worked really well for me at VBS. I was able to project an image onto the screen, then blow it up by “pinching.” This was particularly effective when I was discussing the maria and craters on the lunar landscape. Since my iPad is not a 3G, I relied on transferring all of the images and videos directly onto the iPad with GoodReader, too, while syncing.
In one session with kids, I was running a little ahead. So, I also unplugged from the projector and used the Planets app to show the kids individual images of the planets. I was able to walk around with my iPad among the kids and they got a closer view, too. All in all, the iPad and the space images were both hits. Have you used your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch with less formal learning situations? Let me know in the comments.