This video from the field features children collaborating to figure out how to take pictures of each other so that they can appear in our “Photo Friends” game. Add a dash of teacher facilitation and a thoughtfully designed game for math learning, and we have a very potent combination for learning with technology.
Deft teacher facilitation is absolutely critical to taking full advantage of technology in a Pre-K classroom. Three children plus three iPads equals an individualized, social learning experience for these children.
This child is playing our Lemonade Stand game for the first time. This was a HIGHLY debated game mechanic – using the accelerometer – kids lifting and shaking the tablet not only caused concern about damage but also that the mental energy consumed by learning the game mechanics would displace mathematical thinking. The “cognitive load” of learning and switching between multiple advanced game mechanics does not appear to be getting the way of his math learning.
Having our fifteen minutes of fame in The New York Times is, of course, a dream for us. But even more exciting is the fact that is just the beginning of the conversation about technology and curriculum in early education centers. We’re hoping that our focus on the student, the teacher, and the learning will steer the conversation in the right direction from the get-go.
Read the full article, and let us know what you think about apps in the preschool classroom!
In the midst of all the passionate discussions about technology in the classroom, this video reminds us of what’s at the core of what we are doing.
And for those of you new to us:
NGPM is an NSF-funded learning design research project that expands over the period of four years. Our team is focusing on determining the best approach to integrating technology — in our case, tablet games — into the preschool classroom to teach math. We’re providing multiple opportunities for learning, from tablet apps to non-digital games and hands-on activities, to real world applications of the learning in preschoolers’ every day lives.
Our development team is working hand-in-hand with learning scientists, preschool teachers, and children to create the materials that comprise the Next Generation Preschool Math project.
Came across this video as I was researching other NPGM related things. I was just impressed by this 4 1/2 year old’s ability to use a fairly complex interface, requiring a number of different types of gestures, learn and retain newly discovered elements of the application’s interface, and to stay focused on her task for a significant period of time.
This week the team took our stack of iPad 2s out into the preschool world, and introduced the tablets to a lively group of children in Worcester, MA. We knew that the children would enjoy interacting with the tablets, but we did not expect them to adapt to the touch interface with such gusto. The multi-sensory experiences afforded by the tablets seemed to be right up their alley!
The NGPM team is still in the process of exploring how the interactive media experience will fit into the overall classroom experience, but one thing is clear, the power of the touch interface is that children can be the captains of their learning experience with little to no training. Can you imagine that feeling of dashing off onto the high seas, spurred only by your curiosity and a fearless spirit of adventure? Sure, it’s quite a risky maneuver, but imagine the payoff when you finally realize for yourself where it is you’re going!
Though it’s not recommended for daily use, here are some ways you can experience the iPad like a preschooler:
1) First things first, never worry about rules or instructions. If you don’t know what to do, try to figure it out. That’s the fun part! 2) Tap anything that catches your fancy. 3) If something cool happens, show your friends. 4) If nothing happens, just move on and find something else that catches your fancy. 5). Tap, swipe, or drag without fear of consequences. The worst that can happen is that you have to restart. 6) Still can’t figure out how to play a game? No problem. Make your own rules. 7) Clean hands are optional. 8) Last, but not least, take the time to marvel at all the exciting little things you’ve seen, learned, and done.