Blogger Children and Technology Committee

iPad Storytime Tools

There are some really great iPad apps out there for kids and adults that are both educational and entertaining. They are great for one on one learning or for sharing with very small groups. E-book apps like Kindle, Overdrive, Nook, and iBooks can give us instant access to favorite stories. Interactive storybook apps can bring Winnie the Pooh and the Cat in the Hat alive in new ways. That’s great, that’s wonderful…it can be addictive.

I admit to drooling over the iPad 2 with its nice camera feature. Here is something you might not have known…with the addition of a Apple VGA Adapter or the Apple Digital AV adapter the iPad2 can mirror on a a VGA-equipped TV, monitor or external projector exactly what is on the iPad 2 screen for sharing with a larger crowd. If you want to find out more about using the HDMI or VGA connections for mirroring with the iPad 2 check out the video mirroring features information on the apple website or this iPad2 HDMI to VGA monitor YouTube video created by pbowden123.

I received my iPad as a Christmas present, so it is a first generation iPad. Since then it has rarely left my side, I take it everywhere (sometimes even the grocery store). Recently, I have been incorporating its use into my youth services programming.

Now video mirroring is not just restricted to the lucky iPad 2 owners. The VGA Adapter will work on the first gen iPad as well, but it is up to the app developers to allow this feature. Some of the apps that I have come across that allow for VGA mirroring display are:

  • Keynote ($9.99)–This is Apple’s answer to Microsoft’s Powerpoint. It is very simple to create slideshow presentations, but the templates available are pretty limited unless you pay more more templates from third parties. There is also no clip art. Mirroring only available in slideshow mode.
  • Netflix (Free with paid membership)–I am unsure about the legalities of using apps like Netflix to show videos in a public place and it might be best to only use this if you have a movie licensing agreement. However, Fair Use may allow for the use of some videos in a storytime setting as long as they are used for education and not entertainment (i.e. have a discussion about what they saw or what the character did).
  • Karaoke Anywhere HD (Free)–Features a database of free songs or you can pay for more downloads. Remember it is karaoke, so you are getting a karaoke version of the song with background music and words on a screen. Only the 640×480 and 800×600 display settings worked when I tested this app. Mirroring only available when song is playing.
  • NASA App HD (Free)–Not everything in this app will project on screen. Check out the video listings for educational video clips that can be mirrored.
  • Adobe Ideas (Free)–Think finger painting. This drawing whiteboard app that will project your creation in real time directly on screen with no lag that I have seen.
  • Atomic Web Browser ($.99)–With the VGA Out option enabled, this app will mirror your web searches directly on screen minus the tool bars. Sorry, still no Flash.
  • YouTube App (Free)–Mirroring only includes actively playing videos. I have noticed some serious display lag with the app, but that could also be a result of the bandwidth of the WiFi available.
  • Safari (Free)–Mirroring only available with online videos, not browser screens. No Flash.
  • 2 Screens- Presentation Expert ($5.99 )–This app is amazing. It not only features a fully mirrored web browser, but also a whiteboard feature that allows you to draw and point at images on the website for your audience to see.

What do you do with this information and how can it be applied to your storytimes? 

  • Kamishbai–Besides the obvious use of Keynote as a presentation tool, you can create your own version of Japanese Storycards to use during storytime. Save pictures found on the web or Flickr (remember to follow creative commons!) to the iPad to be added to your slides or use a drawing app like ArtRage ($6.99) to illustrate your own creations.
  • Draw & Tell–use a whiteboard app like Adobe Ideas to bring this storytelling technique to the big screen so large groups can enjoy.
  • Digital Storytelling–there are many forms of digital storytelling that can be found on YouTube from fingerpuppet plays to clips from childhood favorites.
  • Craft/Fingerplay/Song Instruction–Place written instructions with pictures on a slide so parents can refer back to the steps as you go.

If you know of any other ways to incorporate an iPad (other than an e-book app) into storytime, include it in the comments below. Now I will leave you with one more app to consider…While it does not allow for video mirroring on the iPad, the International Children’s Digital Library has a free iPad app that features hundreds of international children’s stories some of which have been translated into English. Enjoy!


Every month, the ALSC Blog will feature a post from ALSC’s Children and Technology Committee featuring tools that help librarians connect and engage with their users.

Our guest blogger today is Jennifer Hopwood, a Youth Services Librarian at the Franklin T DeGroodt Memorial Library, and a member of the ALSC Children and Technology committee.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at




  1. Mary Voors

    Your ideas are very interesting. I love the idea of using a whiteboard feature to project a larger “Draw and Tell” story. THANKS!

  2. Cate Levinson

    I use my animal sound apps (e.g. AnimalChatter and AnimalSounds) on my ipod touch in storytime. I pair these apps with rhymes to create interactive guessing games. I wrote a post on my blog ( about it. Here’s a link:

  3. Anne

    I’ve been using iPad apps in storytime for a few months and it’s been a huge hit. Check out my blog for the various ways I’ve incorporated apps into my storytimes:

    Here’s a link to a post where I’ve written about my philosophy for using apps during storytime:

  4. Letha Clayton

    iPad Storytime Tools Is Given Zero Cost Kickstart… From A Social Exercise Sector

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