Jonathan Gay works as a project manager for a pre-school in Newton, PA and has created a project he named Art of the iPad. He wanted to see how creative very young kids could be using new technology without the usual prerequisite of training.
Not wanting to use any of the existing art apps for children, Jonathan decided on using ArtRage (US $6.99), a fully featured painting app with a simple interface that includes pencils, brushes, rollers, spray paint and other tools that can create quite realistic painting effects with a swipe of the finger. ArtRage3 is far more than a coloring book and is not geared to use by kids.
In turn, each child, who was given next to no instruction, had a go to see what they could come up with. Jonathan watched the first child. "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 child was amazed as "all of a sudden, his finger became a burgundy crayon that produced a line across the page." The class took to the iPad with no trouble at all and quickly adapted to the idea that their fingers can create.
Children used different tools. They mixed paints to come up with new colors, some layered paint to build textures, and one even used the eraser to create white lines. Art, on a simple level, seemed to transcend age as the children used techniques and styles not usually attributed to their age group.
In contrast to the story of Maine parents being outraged at the thought of putting iPads into the hands of kindergartners, this project proved that it's unrealistic to have a full curriculum in place before considering using a new technology. Although many will disagree, I don't believe that a fully formed reason must be in place before technology is introduced.
When I bought my first Apple ][+ in the late 70s, I had no real need for it. I had no problems to solve outside of my interest in online communication. The beauty part for me was all in the discovery of what I could do given my strange new toy. There is a lot to be said for the discovery process, and the kids in Jonathan's class have started to find that out.
Take a look at the gallery above of samples of art that came out of the project, and remember that the majority of samples were done by kids much too young for kindergarten.