Prior to widespread availability of touchscreen tablets, I used a computer and mouse with my students. I strived for my students to learn clicking, double clicking, and dragging. In my observations, it was easiest for students to click, followed by double clicking, and dragging was most difficult.
With the introduction of iPad, I now strive for my students to learn gesture controls. The three primary gestures in applications include tapping, flicking, and dragging. In my observations, tapping is the easiest gesture, followed by flicking, and dragging is the most difficult.
Since implementing the iPad for students with severe disabilities, I have observed various abilities to tap, flick, and drag. Students with severe disabilities – not counting physical disabilities here – struggle to even tap with one finger. Those students typically are unable to flick or drag. So, I strive for them to learn tapping with one finger. For students who can tap with one finger, I facilitate flicking, then dragging skills (each with one finger).
There are educational apps that primarily utilize each of the three gestures. Here are iPad apps for tapping, flicking, and dragging:
- Wheels on the Bus for tapping the interactive illustrations
- Shrek Forever After for flicking from one page to the next
- FirstWords: At Home for dragging letters to spell words