A Place for Everything – In Moderation…

I’ve been reading the Tots100 March Blog Hop, titled ‘Learning Through Play’ and some of the brilliant responses to it and wanted to add my few pence worth!

Technology, mainly computers and the Internet, gets a really bad press these days as a contributor to childhood obesity and as a cause of families becoming increasingly disconnected but, in our experience, we have found that technology is a really useful tool in educating our children in a really fun way. I’m talking specifically about the iPad and iPhone.

I am a complete Apple-lover and was thrilled to discover that there is a catalogue of applications (apps) for the iPhone and iPad to use for, and with, children. The subjects are endless – maths, english, science, languages – you name it, but there are a few of the english and spelling apps that have become our favourites.

ABC Animals is a flashcard app showing letters of the alphabet illustrated with cute cartoon animals (see pic). As the card shows the letter then the letter and the name of the animal is stated (in a British accent!). A quick double-click on the card and it flips, allowing the child to trace over the upper and lower case letters, teaching them to write.

Our lad has really enjoyed this game as it’s easy for him to use on his own if he wants to and it has really helped him to learn his alphabet while not really seeming like learning.

My First Words: Animals is another favourite. This game teaches spelling by showing a picture of an animal and the name of the animal jumbled up. The aim is to move the lettered tiles to the correct spaces, spelling the animal’s name. This is accompanied by the sound the animal makes in the background (not at all annoying after extended play!), so reinforces that too.

I was amazed at how quickly our lad picked this up, there are three levels of difficulty and he quickly progressed to the third level, but he is still happy to play as there are a number of animals to spell out from Cat, right through to Octopus! It’s really helped him to get the concept of spelling even if he’s not yet ready to spell properly.

The final example is related to the My First Words: Animals app and it is My First Words: Fruit. It is the same as the Animals app, but with fruit! We also had a the Colours app in this series and they have all be very useful and enjoyable for us.

These apps have been great for us as they are equally enjoyable for our lad to use on his own – many is the time that a tantrum has been avoided by getting the ABC Animals out on the iPhone, or for one of us to use with him. He’s confident enough with the spelling games to move the tiles himself, but is also happy to watch while mummy or daddy shows him how to do it.

I firmly agree that the best thing for children is for them to be fit, active and healthy, but also that technology does have a place in their education and recreation if used sparingly. They will need to be IT-savvy in their future learning, so why not start them out young?

Although we are using the iPad primarily for english and spelling games at the moment, I am really looking forward to exploring the catalogue of games in other subjects too. Dare I say it, I even have a few language apps picked out – but perhaps these can wait a few years yet!

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3 Responses to A Place for Everything – In Moderation…

  1. Michelle Way says:

    Ooooh, adds to my case for getting an iPad! We’ve only really ventured as far as the Peppa Pig Wii game technology-wise in our house, plus Paint on the PC. I agree that our kids do need to be familiar with technology as it will be an integral part of their world, unlike our generation where playing Tetris at break time on the one computer for the whole class was the limit, or tea shop in the computer room!

  2. Pingback: Blogging from A-Z: I is for Internet | It Takes A Woman

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