Technology

Finding The Best Ipad Apps

Because there are a lot of poor games out there, and many are based on the kind of operant conditioning described in the video below , they are a huge draw for children without having much reward, and they are often the kinds of games our children might ask us for. Sometimes it's hard to find games that are actually worth the time our kids are going to spend on them. What follows are some of my favorites. I haven't been paid by any of these games to promote them. I just think they're good.


Hungry Guppy

It's difficult to find an app that really works kid's number sense. That's why I love Hungry Guppy and Hungry Fish so much. They are made by Motion Math (that makes a whole slew of great math games for older kids). Hungry Guppy is appropriate for Preschool, Kindergarten, and First Grade children, and Hungry Fish is for First Grade and up. Hungry Guppy teaches children key foundational math skills, such as the part/whole relationship of numbers and their hierarchical relationships. For a glimpse of what you get with this app, check out this video:



Subitize Tree

Subitizing is an important skill for young children. It is the ability to visually recognize numbers by mentally grouping them. This is a great game that hones this skill. A child must quickly recognize the number shown in order to free the animals. It has different difficulty settings which makes sure that children can be challenged and not frustrated as they develop the skill. Both my 3 year old and 6 year old enjoy this game at different levels.



Duck Duck Moose

I love app developer Duck Duck Moose. All of their apps are well made, adorable, and creative. My younger kids love their nursery rhyme apps and my older kid is a fan of Moose Math. I don't think you can go wrong buying something made by these guys.




KneeBouncers

Sometimes baby is going to want a turn at the iPad, or need a phone distraction, andKneeBouncers is the best I've found. When baby touches the device's screen, bubbles pop, colors change, bells ring, and vehicles drive by. It works on your computer too; if baby likes to play with your keyboard.

Monkey Preschool

The Monkey Preschool series by THUP games is another series where every game is a winner. All of my kids have loved these games while preschool age, and they've learned great skills too!


Letter School

Letter School is a handwriting app. It's been a great app for all my kids, and especially for my second son, who learned all his letters by the time he was 2 from playing this app. The novelty of the game has worn off of my 6 year old, however, despite the fact that he still needs the practice.


Handwriting Without Tears

Based on the fantastic handwriting program, this is an excellent app for teaching proper letter formation. However, children probably won't be intrinsically motivated to play this one, so it's place is probably more instructional than recreational.

Eddie's Number Party!

This game by Scientific Learning, is a wonderful game to teach preschoolers pre mathematical skills. It also has a fun storyline and... PUPPIES! And what preschooler wouldn't love that?


Originator

Originator is the creator of the apps, Endless Alphabet, Endless Numbers, Endless Wordplay, and Endless Reader. All of these are engaging, adorable, and informative. You need to watch the video to get and idea of just how adorably these games have been put together.




This post originated on Lyndsey's Blog:  Mamma's Tots.

Technology In the Classroom

Technology should be deliberately used in the classroom. You can evaluate if you are effectively using technology to impact teaching and learning by using the SAMR model. The letters represent: Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition. 

Substitution: Technology is sometimes used just as a substitution for something that we already have - reading or listening to a story on a computer or an i-Pad instead of reading a book or listening to a story from a listening center. This is a good starting point for technology, but doesn’t go far enough. 

Augmentation: Technology can make a report or project a little better. If you type up a report on a computer and then use spell check, you are using technology to augment your work. Again, a nice feature, but not enough to justify great expense.

Modification: At this level technology begins to transform the educational process.  Students still use traditional skills such as writing, but they complete assignments with technology. In kindergarten, a student may write about a subject, then record the story or sentences on an i-Pad. The accompanying illustrations can be photos of the student’s drawings, clip art, or other digital images. The report or story can be shared with classmates or parents.

Redefinition: A step up from modification, redefinition also transforms learning. At this level, technology allows for the creation of tasks that once would have been impossible and even inconceivable. Students can collaborate on a project; it can include student writing and pictures put together as a slide show with background music, video, and student recordings. The possibilities are endless, especially as students gain experience through the years.


John Dewey said, “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.” Technology is a part of the future for our students; take advantage of it to transform learning in your classroom.

Make any Screen a Digital Whiteboard

Love it or hate it, technology is here to stay. The opportunities to include technology in the classroom are endless, but not every teacher will or should follow the same technology program. Depending on available materials and devices, each teacher needs to decide what programs, apps, and options will enhance learning and make teaching a little easier. 

So, what is a good educational app? One that is fairly easy to use is Educreations. It can be accessed from your computer or i-pad. You can sign up for a free account (and download the free app on your i-pad) to try Educreations; a pro account (with additional options) costs around $100/year.

Educreations can be a digital whiteboard - you can “write” on your i-pad screen or use the mouse for your computer to write numbers, letters, or words. It’s great for displaying equations, spelling sight words, or writing anything that you would write on a standard whiteboard. Students will be engaged and even a little impressed by your “talent!” 


Educreations can also be used to make a simple slide show. You can insert photos or clip art, add text, and record information. Your slide show can be shown to the entire group, used by students in class at an independent center, or accessed at home as part  of a homework assignment.


If you aren’t familiar with Educreations, check it out. With some experimentation you may find that this is a tool that can help you engage students and enhance learning.