There is now a much larger focus on early learning for preschool aged children changing from a daycare situation to an authentic education experience to develop children’s skills in literacy and numeracy. Doing so comes with some challenges that governments and providers are struggling to meet, including financing, infrastructure requirements, staffing and equipment to support the staff in giving high quality educational experiences to young children.One of the ways that we can assist is providing useful technology and solutions to early learning providers that they can use immediately with their students.
In this blog note, I will show some ways that an interactive screen can help early learning centres develop lessons and activities that will engage and stimulate a young mind.
Lots of Early Learning Apps
This is where an interactive screen really shines in a classroom – early learning android apps.
That being said there are a few issues with finding and installing the apps.
The main issue with finding apps is their suitability for use with the group of children you have, or whether it fits with what is being taught.
The other issue is with costs.
A huge number of apps offer either free versions, or trial versions, but to get the best out of most of the apps, some form of payment either a once-off cost or subscription is required. This will come down to how much benefit you see from the app, however there are still a wide range of apps that don’t cost a thing apart from logging in due to being supported by ads, which is something to consider to determine the appropriateness in showing certain ads.
Finally, some apps just don’t quite work properly on interactivity screens due to the way they are programmed and will require some testing to check they will be OK for what you want to do.
There are so many applications available on the Google Play store, that it’s actually very hard to recommend some, but I’ll give it a go!
Peppy Pals Social Skills is designed to help children build skills in social and emotional areas with fun and realistic scenarios. The app has some activities for free with the full version costing $19.99AUD.
Khan Academy is a learning app that is geared towards primary and secondary learning, but does have early learning elements. It is free and has an incredible range of teaching videos, lessons and activities and is definitely one to keep an eye on.
Jolly Phonics Lessons is based on the Jolly Phonics program to teach children phonics to help with reading. It gives lessons for every sound, as well as fun activities and songs to help reinforce the learning. This is a free app.
Busy Shapes and Colours is a Montessori developed app to help with learning shapes and colours. The app is one of the few fully multi-touch apps we’ve found and the free version gives some limited games. The various other games can be unlocked for $6.49 per item.
Don't Forget Whiteboarding!
Even though the apps that you find may have lots of educational content that suits your children, don’t forget that whiteboard apps can help you create content that is directly linked to what you want to teach.
Using whiteboard apps such as MS Whiteboard or Google Jamboard, you can prepare content for lessons away from the screen that is exactly what you want and need to teach and is tailored exactly to your students ability. Both are free and only require a Microsoft or Google account to begin using them. That being said, there are also other great apps such as Miro, Lucidspark and Canva or even the inbuilt HDi Note+ (on HDi screens) that can really change the way you approach lessons and planning.
With the app versions installed on your HDi interactive screen, you don’t even need a PC to run them!
Or Interactive Websites
There are so many great interactive websites out there, that to try and list them here would be impossible. However, I’ve grabbed a very short list to get you started to help with sites we know works on an interactive screen. Good luck finding more, and let us know in the comments when you do as we always want to hear of others.
Toytheater.com has a wide range of teacher tools that include everything from timers to digital manipulatives such as counters, magnetic fraction strips and coins. There are lots of games and activities as well, but the tools are really good.
Starfall is another great website with lots of learning activities geared to a wide range of ages and abilities. There are a lot of free activities, but signing up and paying for extras gives even more learning and fun (and it’s reasonably priced too).
While Google Earth is not specifically for early learning, it can still be a lot of fun for younger children to see different parts of the world as well as the places they live and know. It’s free and on an interactive screen you will have full gesture control to pan, tilt, zoom and fly across the planet. Lot’s of fun!
If there’s any we’ve missed or you have any comments or suggestions, please comment below.