Using “Pens” with our iPod Touches

After starting off the new year with the new bunch of Kindergartners the tinyness of the iPods seemed more…obvious to me.

Using, as we do, ABC Pocket Phonics the letters seemed so small to me after having a couple of months to stare at iPad screens during the Summer. As per usual more technology has come on the scene and made one totally awesome piece of tech seem a little bit inferior. Don’t get me wrong and I am here to state: the iPod Touches are marvelous learning tools for schools. Period.

So what next I thought? How do we make this work a little bit better for the little ones who are having some issues “finger writing” on the small iPod Touch screen. It’s not a big deal and the kids surely overcome any issues they have by adapting their techniques but I started to investigate tools that could write on the iPod Touch screen.

After some browsing it seemed that the Pogo Sketch was the best one for writing/drawing on the Ipod. So I cranked up my Ebay account and bought a couple from good old Australia and they were here within a couple of days.

Initial findings:

Good! I like them and the kids like them! As I was sitting in on the first few classes where the Kindergarten students were using them I could see who was having issues with their fingers so I passed out the pens. The kids are initially interested in these weird spongy nibbed oddities but they soon (as they always do) get used to them. I don’t know how sturdy or how much abuse the sponge tips can take as I have seen a lot of force put on them but so far so good.

Here are a few videos of them in action

Pogo Sketch and iPod Touch (Kindergarten) from Colin Gallagher on Vimeo.

Here’s the issue when the palm of the hand brushes against the screen which unfortunately lead the student to adapt to a less than natural pen holding grip. I blame my direction! He’ll get there.

Pogo Sketch pens with iPod Touch (Kindergarten) from Colin Gallagher on Vimeo.

Impatience doesn’t work well on ABC Pocket Phonics but this student had a good grasp (literally) on how to use the pen. Pocket Phonics is not the most forgiving with going off the writing path either. This is a good thing.

Pogo Sketch with iPod Touch (Kindergarten) from Colin Gallagher on Vimeo.

I really shouldn’t have reminded him so quickly!!

Pogo Sketch pens with Ipod Touches (Kindergarten) from Colin Gallagher on Vimeo.

This last one doesn’t really show the usage of the pen off but it does show two things I found interesting. First of all, the way the student uses the pen and then switches to his finger to press the play button. And two, the fact that he learned quickly in ABC Pocket Phonics if he wants to hear the word again he pressed the white arrow (could be a bigger arrow though!)


  1. What a coincidence! I’ve been looking at some stylus just today and had settled on the Pogo too. These videos are a great way to see them in action with the Kindergarten pupils. I wondered too how resilient the spongy like top would be in the hands of 5 yr olds. They do like to press hard so I’ve used a feather to tickle their hands and tell them that’s what they have to do to the iPod-just tickle it gently with their ‘feather fingers’. Hopefully they will be light handed with the stylus too.

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  3. Hi, I’m the developer of abc PocketPhonics. Loved the videos! I’ve just finishing off some work on my other app where I’ve changed it to ignore unintended touches. This is quite hard to do, but obviously PocketPhonics needs some development in this area too.

    If you have any other comments or thoughts, please email me.

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