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When the app Foldify was launched, I was very excited. There was and still is something fun about using both hi-tech iPads and low-tech cardboard/paper. The app offered, design, problem solving, conceptual thinking and crucial use of motor-skills in terms of cutting out the 3D characters. It offered something physical, beyond iPad screen-time that seemed and still seems a worthy activity.

So when Storest was launched in November I was intrigued. I’m not fan of shopping but this opens some interesting doors for learning.

The app has two modes. To begin with it is an on screen shop, complete with shopping trolley and products aimed at young children. Products are added to trolley and then paid for by putting them on the conveyor belt at the till. It even has the sounds of Tesco or is it Aldi these days ;-). The shopper can then pay the bill with virtual notes and coins on the screen.

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The second mode as actually a physical shop with all the products being printable PDFS. Yep I download and printed them out and then cut them out – it took ages and I mean ages. The iPad then becomes the till and QR code scanner for the products.

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There are 8 x 4 sheets of products plus a sheet of money. Each sheet took me about 20 mins to cut out and I’m pretty nifty with a pair of scissors. Most busy teachers will struggle to find 32 x20 mins cutting out moments but where there’s a will there’s a way pupil power!

The biggest flaw with the virtual store app is that it the money transactions are dealt with very swiftly. For example when notes and cash are handed over the till deducts automatically This is great for breaking down larger numbers. Hundreds, tens and units can also be explored. If more money than required is handed over change is immediately given but there is no real on screen as to what is happening. This is a real opportunity for the developer to make it more educational.

Having said this working to a budget, working in a team, as shop keeper/product organiser are great learning opportunities for young children.

In class in y2 children were really thrilled with the process of setting up a shop and organising the products. They were even more excited at the notion of shopping. The toy shop was often visited.

Having some paper money and a context for using though opens up all kinds of learning possibilities especially for vertical group activities. The iPad briefly took a back seat to the small bits of paper and cardboard and somehow that is still reassuring!

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Y2 Children at Heygreen Primary Liverpool absorbed in the post christmas virtual sales.

Of course this fits neatly into the 8 iPads way of working because not only is an iPad a TV studio, Animation studio, Radio/Music studio, a digital darkroom, it’s now a shop! Eight shops in any classroom is more than enough to manage, unlike many of our high streets where eight shops would be pretty amazing.

About Digital Roadtrip

Apple ADE 2007 and Apple Trainer/Mentor

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