Saturday, August 11, 2012

I have a domain!

I decided to get a domain for the blog and unfortunately (although it's not being used either!) wasn't available so instead I went with

So, you can still access this blog through blogspot of course but I am excited to be able to simplify little bit! And proudly give out my own website address

And here is a QR code that will send you to the page...
Easily made using Check out Qrafter Pro - QR Code Reader and Generator

Friday, August 10, 2012

I have an iPad again!

For all of you who were sad for me about my broken iPad screen- it's finally fixed!  A huge thank you to my patient husband who painstakingly took it apart, put the new screen on, took it off again and ordered another piece that was damaged in the fall... THEN put the screen on again and found it had a crack, ordered ANOTHER new screen and put it together again, teeny tine screws and finicky wires and all.  Hooray for my sweetie!

Now I'm off to go enjoy my iPad and the new apps I've been downloading while I waited.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Using technology with young children- resources and ideas

A reader posted this the other day: "Hi! I found your site- thank you! I just received a job to teach computers (imac lab) to 3 and 4 year olds. I am quite nervous! Do you have any suggestions for books that might give me some lesson ideas and a starting point? Thanks!" by Anonymous

Unfortunately there are not a lot of practical books about tech and ECE out there.  Even if there were- they would be out dated almost by the time they were printed!  Technology is rapidly changing.  I am in process of developing an e-book about using tech with young children but it won't be ready until late fall.  Even then, my hope would be to be able to update it as tech changes.  

Here is a book recommended by another reader and published by NAEYC:

There are however, a lot of resources on the web regarding using technology with young children.  Here are some to peruse:

NAEYC is of course the first place I go for ECE advice and this position statement should be thouroughly read by anyone using technology with the 0-8 age group.

An accompanying document to the NAEYC position statement this doc gives practical ideas for use of tech with children at each age level. 

More from NAEYC, suggested by another reader, Dr. Dale McManis:  She also recommended "Twitter Chat #ECETECHCHAT each Weds. at 9 pm EST; you can learn about the group and see archives of past Twitter chats here:" And you know I love Twitter for timely and practical advice. This page has links related to tech and ECE

This site ECE Tech, is new to me... explore it and let me know what you think.

This article by NAEYC speaks to tech in primary classrooms but still has gems for the preschool teacher as well as ideas for activities.

These are more theory than practical, but still good reading:

My biggest recommendation to you is to carefully consider WHAT you want your little people to take away from their computer time.  Is the goal to increase literacy and vocabulary? To familiarize with a mouse?  You should start planning your program around the end goal and work backwards.  You will have to teach some basic mouse/computer skills but the goal SHOULD be to use the technology to explore the world, develop vocabulary, enjoy good literature, connect with other children...

After you have your how to thoughtfully teach technology in ECE down, AND your goals for learning (social, literacy, mathematical, vocabulary, creative...) then figure out how the iMacs, or iPads, or digital cameras, etc. will support those lessons.  The lesson should NOT be how to use the iMac or other technology (other than basic ones- such as we teach how to hold a pencil before teaching what to write- you do need to demonstrate proper use of the device) but rather using the iMac to learn about the wonderful world and share what they already know.  

Ideas for using the iMac specifically:

Have the kids work with partners the majority of the time.  My rule is the kid on the right (in front of the mouse) makes the decisions- which links to click and what to type.  Set a timer and switch every 5-10 minutes.  This helps with social skills, reduces frustrations and gives them someone immediately there when they need help.  In the beginning partner a tech savvy kid with a new to tech kid.  

Get them started with PhotoBooth!  They will love taking pictures of themselves and classmates.  Have them take a picture of their favorite toy or book or a picture they created.  (For the books be sure to turn off the mirroring otherwise the print will be backwards!)

They can record themselves singing, telling stories, acting out familiar books using iMovie.

Set their homepage on Safari to a Symbaloo (look up kinderchat symbaloo mixes and search for preschool mixes) or Tizmo's page (my page is for quick and visual access to books and games online.

Let them type like crazy in Word, especially after you add pictures they have taken.  Write in the dictation they share with you.  Email it to their parents or add to a blog.

Be sure to teach an appropriate lesson about safety online and make sure your filters are strong.

Good luck in your new job teaching those precious children utilizing technology!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Teaching Tool: Bugs and Bubbles App Review

I've been waiting since its release a few weeks ago to try out Bugs and Bubbles, a second offering by the Little Bit company that created Bugs and Buttons. My iTunes account was down to $1 and the app cost $2.99. So I was thrilled to see iTunes cards on SALE at Target yesterday- I bought $30 worth of iTunes credit for a bit over $25 with my husbands blessing. Seeing the mentions of the app was making me think I was going to have to go behind his back and purchase a card! Thankfully he understands my obsession with quality apps and testing them out before recommending them.

As soon as I got home I downloaded the Bugs and Bubbles app and played with it. I love the app developers balance between playfulness and learning activities. The app is perfect for the 3-6 year old set although many of the games could be played by younger kids and older ones too.

The app is spendier ($2.99) than I'd like for classroom apps, but worth it for a family app or one iPad classroom.  The value though is in the volume of quality activities- all kids will enjoy the games while parents and teachers will love the early learning concepts built into the app.

 (Photo Left) 1. Children can choose to play the games in random order or explore any of the games. The activities start off easy but progressively get harder.  2/3 activities 4. Shows a simple sorting game.  5. Fill in the missing numbers 6. patterning with colored bubbles (Photo Right) shows the Scale-Balance activity that introduces addition sentences and concept of equality, more activities, and the ever popular strategy game Connect 4,

The pictures on the left show the memory game, tracing alphabet letters, a stacking/balancing game (which announces the shape name) and opportunity to draw freely and reveal a soothing background picture.
Pictures to the right are of bowing activity that introduces Ten Frames, comparing attributes, and counting, matching letters, counting and more.

There are 20 activities (if you do the math they end up costing about $0.15 each so maybe I should take back my criticism of the price, especially if you use your VPP).

The best part of the app in my opinion are the gorgeous graphics and soothing background music.

My daughter just caught me playing the app and is demanding to use my phone so this review is over for now! Unfortunately my iPad is still out of commission- we ordered a new screen and a couple of other components but the new screen got a crack during the process of fixing it so now I have to wait a bit longer (and pay out more for another screen!).

Did you notice I turned on ads on the blog? I debated long and hard but decided to give it a try. I figured it might eventually help fund iTunes cards and repair costs for the sad iPad. Let me know what you think!

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