Modeling Collaborative Apps

We had a bubble-bursting good time sharing the Gracie & Friends Treasure Bubbles iPad app, now available in the Apple App Store, with our young friends and teachers. What was our approach to integrating this collaborative game into the preschool classroom? Modeling how we can work together to learn math — which is “awesome” and totally clap-worthy!

This modeling — and it’s absolutely participatory modeling with the teachers and children! — is all part of our Professional Development for effective integration of research-based, developmentally appropriate games into the preschool classroom. Teachers model the apps for the children, inviting their thoughts, their voices, and their touch.

As for the children? We saw a lot of joy and exuberance while learning together! And that’s the true treasure.

A True Birthday Celebration for Gracie & Friends!

After four years of National Science Foundation-funded research and development, our team launched the first of the eight game apps last week! Our iPad app Gracie & Friends Birthday Café is now available in the Apple App Store!

The app is part of Early Math with Gracie & Friends™— our new, mobile app series and math curriculum supplement developed by the First 8 Studios at WGBH team under the Next Generation Preschool Math project. A randomized control trial demonstrated significant learning gains among the children who used the apps.

The hands-on activities are currently available at the First 8 Studios at WGBH Web site! The remaining apps will be released in the Apple App Store over the upcoming months, and the digital Teacher’s Guide will be released in early 2015.

Our own Christine Zanchi, Executive Producer, says, “The Gracie & Friends apps are laying the research foundation for how to use technology with young children. Our research and preschool partners, the teachers and children, are integral to this process. As this and other projects demonstrate, public media has an incredible role to play in setting the bar for mobile learning.”

We’re so excited to share our work with the world!

PBS Introduces “It All Adds Up”

In a recent blog post, we shared a USA Today article about the importance of exposing children to math ideas early. In her latest piece for the Huffington Post, PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger describes how her grandfather taught her to see the math in her own world when she was a young child.

Kerger is hoping to give all parents and caretakers the tools to provide for their children what her grandfather provided for her. Following a survey of parents and their attitudes towards teaching math to their children, PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are launching a new “It All Adds Up” initiative with the goal of pulling together math videos, games, activities, and tips.

Check out the PBS KIDS Lab website to see one (or one hundred!) of these great resources. Be sure to scroll all the way down to see the “Math Activity of the Day” and “Ideas To Go” sections, which include quick and easy suggestions for parents. We’re planning to have a similar section in our Teacher’s Guide where teachers can get quick ideas on how to get kids engaged in math, math talk, collaboration, and more!

Stay tuned for more updates on our Teacher’s Guide and our games and activities as we begin the summer work of moving from alpha builds to beta builds!