A Cross-sectional Examination of Children's Interactivities with the iPad App: Carnival of the Animals

Dr. Catherine Ming Tu & Joshua Hernandez
Research Track
You must be a registered Virtual Convention 2016 user to view this video. If you are a registered user, log in to view the Virtual Convention Video, contact us to order Virtual Convention 2016.

A Cross-sectional Examination of Children's Interactivities with the iPad App: Carnival of the Animals The sustained popularity of iPad in most homes and learning environments demands investigation on what young children see and hear from these devices and how they understand the visual and auditory elements. Although there have been a number of studies about innovative approaches for the use of iPads on children with disabilities (Neely, Rispoli, Camargo, Davis, & Boles, 2013; Flores et al., 2012), few researchers have examined very young children’s preference of visual and auditory elements on the app and developmental inclinations during their first few years of life. In studying how children develop, the interactions between internal and external factors are most conducive to the study of children’s perception of visual and auditory messages. The purpose of the present investigation was to find the cross-sectional differences in preference between music and language elements when children (N=12) interacted with an iPad App Carnival of the Animals. The researchers conducted four weekly visits to a daycare center. Twelve 2- to 9-year-old children were given 10-12 minutes free-play time with the app. Using a finger-movement tracking software, the researchers documented approximately 50,000 touch points on the iPad. Results indicated that 1) when first looking at an app page, poems and talking animal categories are the first preferred objects, followed by the improvised sounds and instrument categories. There was a tendency on percentage of poems to increase with age; 2) examining the overall data, poems and instruments were the most visited objects for all participants, particularly the younger children enjoyed the instruments far more than the older participants; 3) overall, older children paid more attention to the poems and language areas whereas the younger participants frequently visited the music related areas.


Dr. Catherine M. Tu teaches elementary music methods classes and supervises undergraduate research at Texas A & M University-Kingsville (TAMUK). Her research has centered on singing accuracy measures, infant and toddler music behaviors, and children’s interactivity with the iPad. She is deeply concerned with equal opportunity for all early childhood music students. Dr. Tu taught birth through 12th grade music classes for public school in South Carolina, Florida, and Ohio. After receiving her doctoral degree from University of Miami in Florida, she taught music methods classes for five years at Millikin University in Illinois before joining TAMUK. Her publications have appeared in Perspectives: Journal of the Early Childhood Music & Movement Association, Research Perspectives in Music Education, the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, and Musicology in China. Dr. Tu is a member of National Associate for Music Education (NAfME), Gordon Institute for Music Learning (GIML), American Orff-Schulwerk Association (AOSA), and Early Childhood Music and Movement Association (ECMMA). She is certified by Orff-Schulwerk (level I and II), Musikgarten Family Music, Cycle of Seasons, and GIML early childhood, elementary, and instrumental music. In 2008, Dr. Tu was awarded the distinguished Presser Music Award.

Mr. Joshua Hernandez is a master’s student in music performance at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.