Living within the digital age, people need to acquire various skills and knowledge for daily events. In early childhood settings, pupils need to be taught about technology. Many educators do not realize the importance that having technology within the learning environment and how it can develop the child. Therefore, when choosing the appropriate software for children may be challenging. After completed a report on educational software it was notice that many things need to be considered in order to promote appropriate software that can be implemented within the learning environment. There was difficulty when searching for the software that would be best to promote to others, after searching for about a week the one chosen was created by…….
Laugh and Learn, titled “Learning about Opposites.”
This was chosen because it is developmentally appropriate for toddlers (1 – 2 ½ years). It is a simple game that involves repetition (Allen & Marotz, 2007, p 116) that would enhance the child’s memorization as well as listening skills, since it is fully supported through audio feedback. The child would use their entire arm to move the mouse around, just like when scribbling on paper, which would also help to build on full arm movements (Allen & Martoz, 2007, p 106).
The software is cartoon-based, single-framed and centralized on the screen. The audio and visual is simple. The directions are simplistic as it says, “in front, behind, which one is behind?” As the narrator talks there is an animal that goes in front of a couch or behind a couch (demonstrates opposites) and then asks the user to chose one. If the answer chosen is incorrect, then the screen gets shaded in blue and says try-again. The user is left with one other option, once clicked it says great-job, adds cheery music and sparkles to the screen. It motivates the child to continue instead of discouraging them from wanting to interact with the software. This is probably the best quality of the software since it helps to not only motivate or discourage the child, as mentioned above but builds the child’s self-esteem. The software has about 8 different rounds that teach different types of opposites before the game is finished and does not have a time limit.
There are limitations to the software as well, that would need to be considered. As the user develops the skills and masters the game they may be disengaged in the activity and create boredom. It does not offer opportunities for various levels of difficulty to increase the challenge, and to further their development (Goyne, 2000). This being said, since the software is simplistic it does not challenge the user to develop their skills further, instead it just creates a barrier to further their development. The software is also considered to be transmissive since it is user-computer based instead of user-user. It supports individual engagement and limits for social interaction with multi-users. However, the educator or child can create a social atmosphere by allowing more than one child to be playing the software and others can offer ideas and suggestions to choose the correct answer.
Just a few recommendations for educators if interested in using the software are to provide earphones if the atmosphere is noisy and the child want to be engaged in the software alone. Or create a social setting by encouraging the children to create a game. They can do a tally with hands on who thinks which one is the correct answer and the educator could ask open-ended questions to build on the learning experience. Provide opportunities for the children to learn about opposites within the learning environment as well through activities within the program. Most importantly, remember the software is fully supported through audio feedback, so make sure the speakers are on and the volumn is up!
Hope this information will be essential to educators when choosing and appropriate software for the child care setting. After having difficulties to create and upload a Screen Cast, below is a demonstration of the software. I hope that it provides more insight on how the game operates. Enjoy!
Cristina Basile RECE
Allen, E, & Morotz, L. (2007). Developmental Profiles: Pre-birth through Twelve 5th Edition.
Goyne, J, & McDonough, K, & Padgett, D. (2000). Practical Guidelines for Evaluating Educational Software. Retrieved from Sheridan College SLATE