Portfolio Entry 3: Educational Software

The software my group and I chose to evaluate for our Software Evaluation Assignment was a children’s game from www.tvokids.com. The game is called Peep and the Big Wide World and it can be found in the games category for children ages two to five. Within Peep and the Big Wide World there are 15 sub games that children can pick from. Some of these games include colour making/mixing, shape finder, counting, hide and seek, making music, memory, numbers, making patterns and more. As a group we chose the sub game ‘Trash Stash’ to evaluate because we felt that it was one or the most fun and developmentally appropriate for children ages 4-5. While playing this game children are asked to classify and sort various objects the raccoon throws down from his tree accordingto the attribute(s) the bird Peep calls out.

 The picture to the left shows you some of the objects the raccoon throws down from his tree. In this perticular picture the red bird is asking the child to find four red objects to place into the circle. If the child gets them right they move on to the next level. If the child gets them wrong a voice will speak that say how many the children have right and to click on the objects they with to take out of the circle. The game is based on trial and error.

 I feel that the best features of the game is the media and activities the children have to complete. The game has bright colours seen through the characters, scenery and objects. The characters are animated and relatable because they are familiar characters in a popular TVO Kids T.V. show, there is also a story line to the opening scene of Peep and The Big Wide World as well as the opening to each of the sub games within. The story line creates humour and an interesting element to the game for children to watch before they begin to click the objects they are told. The game has simple pictures that are relatable and easily understood and recognized by the child. Also we found that because a separate window opens when he child clicks on the game ‘Trash Stash’ it creates more concentration towards the game. This is also because the background behind the game is blurred out so the child doesn’t get distracted from the ad’s and colours that are on the main page.

 Some of the tips or recommendations I would give the Peep and the Big Wide World’s sub game ‘Trash Stash’ would be to first of all change the age group that this game can be found under. Ages two to five years old is too broad and from my knowledge as an Early Childhood Educator I believe this game falls under for ages four to five years old. I also noticed that there is no back button if the child wants to choose another sub game from Peep and the Big Wide World. When the child does want to pick a new game they have to close the Trash Stash window and open the Peep and The Big Wide World game again and go through the beginning song /intro.  To add to this I feel that at the beginning of the game there should be a skip button available if a child may want to skip the introduction, instead of waiting it out as they may have already heard or seen the introduction several times. The next recommendation I would give it to have the objects highlight as the child clicks them or moves their mouse over them. This would make it much easier to be able to see what object they have their mouse over or have clicked on. I feel that for the age group of 4-5years old there should be more motivation within the game. This means after a certain amount of time passes and the child is unable to figure out the objects needed there should be hints or clues to help the child pick up on what is needed to be done in order to get to the next level. Also I feel that there should encouragement for the child. An example of this would be a voice or character saying “You can do it” or “Just one more your almost there!” This may help motivate the child to continue trying and move to the next level. Overall I do feel that this is a good game to include in the childcare setting. It is developmentally appropriate for children between the ages of 4-5 because it teaches then classification, sorting skills and reorganization skills that are needed in this age. Most if not all of the objects used in the game are easily recognized and children will be able to match these objects with things they may see In their daily lives which also helps make it an overall good game and resource.

Please take a look at the screen cast I have attached below. It was what myself and my group came up with after looking thoroughly at the game and evaluating it on criteria which looks at developmentally appropriate software for children when implementing technology in the classroom. 

If you would  like to read  about applying and implementing technology into the classroom please take a look at the website I have attached a great journal by Feng Wang, Mable B. Kinzie, Patrick McGuire and Edward Pan on Applying Technology to Inquiry-Based Learning in Early Childhood Education, I hope you enjoy it!

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Portfolio Entry 2: Website Review

There are many different types of childcare centres out there for parents to take their children. Some may be easier to get into then others but it is always important to look at the childcare centre thoroughly before deciding which is best for you and your child. One of the first ways to help you decide if a childcare is right for you is to look at the centres website. For this entry I chose to look at the Peek-a-boo Childcare centre. This centres website can be found at http://www.peekabookid.com/.

When I first went onto this site I thought that it looked very professional and both child and parent friendly. I noticed the bright coloured bubbles in the title and the easy to see and read content. This was very appealing to me because it drew my eyes to the centres name and then towards their flash portfolio ad which changes to show different pictures and statements about the centre. Some things the flash portfolio states is “Where learning and fun come together, fabulous activities, great teachers and fabulous friends, clean and well equipped centres”(Peekaboo, 2011). These slogans are continuously coming up on the website and catch the viewers attention. The next part of the website that I thought was well laid out was their horizontal navigation bar and the FAQ search bar. These really make it a lot simpler for parents to look through all the things this site and childcare has to offer as well as making it user friendly. Some of the hypertext used on the navigation bar were, Programs, Locations, Team, Why us?, FAQ and Waiting list. Through these hyperlinks I was able to easily navigate throughout the entire site.

I also found when I was looking at the website their mission statement was easy to find. It stated, “As an established child care facility we are able to offer you and your child the best the day care industry has to offer. Careful research and planning has gone into every detail to ensure that your child gets the most out of their time with us” (Peekaboo, 2011). I found it very easy to locate the centres mission statement and I noticed it was actually under several of the navigation menus as I searched the site. While looking through all the hyperlinks in the navigation bar I came across the centres various locations and within those locations the centres supervisor and contact info.  Peek-a-boo has many locations and the website provides a search engine which is run through Google maps for parents to search for the nearest Peek-a-boo locations to either their house or place of work. I find this to be a great tool to have on their website, its fast and easy for parents to do.

Overall I feel that the best quality of this website is its professional look and use of multi-media. It is very organized and easy to navigate throughout the site and its information. I also feel that it is easily understood by parents even with medium to low understanding of the computer. The websites use of the program details on each of the different age groups was well done and very useful when looking to see if the centre is going to have everything a child needs to learn and grow while keeping their interests in mind. The only recommendations I would have for this site is to provide more pictures as to what the centre looks like inside and outdoors for parents to get a feel for the environment set up for themselves and their children. Also to make some of their writing bolder. It is sometimes hard to read the writing which is done is a grey colour. I think it would help the site if it was slightly darker to a more black colour. Thank you for reading my post, I hope you are now more knowledgeable on what to look at when searching childcare centre websites in order to find the best childcare for your family and friends.

Reference

Peekaboo (2011) Peekaboo childcare centre. Retieved November 27, 2011 from http://peekabookid.com/

Portfolio Entry 1: R.S.S. and Blog Feeds

       

Recently I have found and read and interesting article by Jay King called An iPad for the Teacher (Not Only). This article is about a school on Auburn that is going to be placing 285 iPads into classrooms. Kings article discusses why he feels that this is a good idea and how having this new technology in the classroom can greatly help improve how a child thinks and learns. King states the iPads will help “tap into creativity, encourage critical thinking and foster collaboration” (King, 2011).

I have come to agree with his points as to how having an iPad2 coming into a school in Auburn is going to make a very positive impact if the technology is used to its best advantages. King states in his article that “Technology has already moved into the classroom in ways both large and small. It has already changed the classroom – from K through 12 – and continues to change how kids learn and teachers think” (King, 2011). I agree with this because children are now going up with technology all around them. They see and use technology on a daily basis and are constantly learning new ways to work and grow with the technology they are given. Children are born into a time where everything heavily relies on technology as we go through our day to day life. For example a cell phone. Most if not all people have a cell phone which is a forever changing and upgrading piece of technology.  Also we see children younger and younger getting cell phones. I remember when I first got my cell phone. It wasn’t until grade 10 of high school and it was only because I was having trouble on my long walk to school.

Another way I agree with having an iPad into the classroom is because using my background  knowledge on Early Childhood Education I am aware that children do learn in different ways, that not every child learns by reading or listening. According to Howard Gardner’s theory of multiply intelligences children have seven different intelligences. These include linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, spatial, interpersonal, and intrapersonal (Smith, 2008). Through these seven intelligences children obtain their knowledge. Some children learn mainly through one of the intelligences where as some children may learn through several. I think by looking at this theory we can help to back up the iPad being in the classroom because this wonderful piece of technology has access to teach children a variety of new information several different way connecting to the seven intelligences children learn through. For example, if a child is a musical learner and you as a teacher find that they seem to catch on to new information by hearing a song or music to its them you could simple look up an app on the iPad that allows the child to learn the information needed though sounds, songs or some type of music. This will help the child learn to the best of their ability. This goes for all of the seven intelligences, with the iPad there are endless possibilities to how children can obtain their knowledge needed to be a successful learner.

Overall I feel that the  iPad would be a great addition into classrooms. Children and teachers would greatly benifit from this great technology as they use it hand in hand with teaching. Teachers will gain new ways of teaching the children using the technology and the children will learn the new materials presented by both the teacher and the iPad  in very different and unique ways that coincide with each childs learning style.

Here’s a video I found interesting which talks about some educational games Teachers can use in their classrooms using the iPad. I found it very useful for someone like myself who is new to becoming an Early Child Educator to get a look at some new ways to incorporate technology like the iPad into the classroom. These iPad games shown in this video would be great resources to use.

References

King, J. (2011). An ipad for the teacher (not only). Retrieved October, 2011 from

           http://edtechdigest.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/an-ipad-for-the-teacher-not-only/

Smith, Mark (2008). Howard gardner, multiple intelligences and education. Retrieved October,

           2011 from  http://www.infed.org/thinkers/gardner.htm