Tag Archives: technology

Gummies Playground App Review

Gummies playground is an interactive educational app that is designed for children between 2 to 4 years old. This app is designed and distributed by Squink Games, and is available on Google Play, App Store, and Amazon.

Gummies playground is basically a series of short games that focus on the areas of mathematics, object recognition, and alphabets. The game has three levels of difficulties ranging from the development level and the age of the child. These level include easy, medium and hard. The “easy” level or level one is for children between the ages of 2-3, at this level there are plenty of clues that are provided throughout the games. As the level go further there are few and few clues and the more games and concepts are introduced. Level 3 or the “medium” level is directed towards ages 3-4 and level 3 or the “hard” level is for children ages 4 and up. The challenges these two level are focused more on the academic part of children’s development and introduce new concepts, for example when children play at “medium” level there are shapes like octagon and diamonds which are not available to children in the “easy” level, the words that children have to spell get longer. Also for example when playing in level 3 or the “hard” level there are things like patterns that children have to remember and where children have to spell a word. An interesting feature of this game is that at the end of the series of the games children get to pick a character and with this character and other character children could make their own song. There is plenty of motivation that is provided throughout the game, and children are encourages to be creative.

This app does not have any ads in it, and does not integrate with any social media. There is however an in-app purchase that needs to be made if you want to access this app more than once a day. The price of getting unlimited usage of this app is $2.06 (for those living in Canada). There are variety of characters in this game and most of them are gender neutral so this game is suitable for either gender.

There are many great features of this app some of these features include the variety of media used, positive feedback, and the interesting manner that it’s presented (Goyne, 2000). As Goyne mentions in her article “Practical Guidelines for Evaluation Software” that use of “vivid graphics, animation, video and sound can bring concepts to life” this app definitely provides that to its user. The sounds used in the game are very life like and very interactive. The visuals are simulating and colorful at the same time being simple enough so children are not overwhelmed by them. Another aspect of an effective software that Goynes mentions in her article is feedback that the software gives (Goynes, 2000), and how is it given. Gummies Playground does accomplish this on a certain level. When children make a mistake the software somehow shows children what they are doing wrong with “high error tolerance” (Goyne, 2000). For example for the matching level when the two objects that the child picks are not same it shows why its wrong by placing the objects right on top of each other. Another thing to consider when assessing whether a software is effective or not is to see whether children will actually enjoy it. The children will definitely enjoy the funny and colorful gummies. With graphic being simple and enjoyable at the same time attracts the attention of the player right away and makes it interesting for children. Goyne does mentions that the age, gender, interest and academic level of the student is important when it comes to if the user would be interested in this app for long (Goyne, 2000) Gummies Playground definitely achieves that with its diversity of characters and ability to fit the divers age range of children between 2-4 years old.

That being said, there are aspects of this software that could be considered as its limitation. Goyne mentions in her article that inorder for a software to be effective it needs to be accessible by students. Though you could download this app for free, the free download comes with only once-a-day play time. If the user wants to access this app more than once there is a charge of $2.06 for Canadian consumers ($1.99 for US consumers). Not every educators would be willing to pay this amount for each an every student that wants access to it (if an educator wants to use this software with the entire class). This charge could be something that turns off parents from this software.

Some of the tips I would offer parents or educators using this software with children would be:

  • This software works best when there are adults actively involved with children while using it. We know from Goyne’s article that in order for a software to be effective it has to allow the child or student to have the opportunity of social interactions (Goyne, 2000). This app definitely gives the chance for adults to interact with the child. Some examples of how you could do this would be to talk to children how the characters in the app are similar or different.
  • Social interactions are important but one should know when to step back and let the child problem solve on their own.

References:

Coffey, H., (2009). Zone of Proximal Development. LEARN NC K-12 Teaching and Learning, 

Goyne, S. J., McDonough, S. K., Padgent. (2000). Practical Guidelines for evaluating Education Software. The Cleaning

House, 73, 345-350

Video:

SquinkGames. (2013, June, 28). Gummies Playground- out now on the Google Play Store!. Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kazY180k7o

Images:

http://www.squinkgames.com/squink-games/gummies-playground/

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Using Technology to Support K-4 Learners- A Reflection

I recently read this following post that I found rather intriguing. This is something that is a big step towards the future of teaching in my opinion.

 Click the bellow link to access the article:

Using Technology to Support K-4 Learners

Here is a little reflection that I did on this article:

This post by Tech News published on June 20th 2013, talks about a new research taking place in couple of school boards in Alberta. For the purpose of the study, researchers provide children from kindergarten to grades 2 with technology like video cameras, gps, motion detectors, software apps; and children from grades 3 to 4 with digital cameras, Google docs, mind mapping software and presentation tools. Children use these technologies in their daily routines and experiments with them while carrying daily activities. Teachers and educators plan curriculum and activities that allow for children to use these technologies. These technologies provide the chance to educators to come up new and innovative ways to interact with children, and in many cases takes children learning and experiences to the next level. Since this research is only in its 1st of total 2 years it’s hard to say what will become of this and whether other school boards would implement something like this or not, but one thing for sure it does give a person a lot to think about.

In many of the classes we have talked a lot about technologies that could be used by or either with children. These technologies and tools are usually something like a software where children could record themselves or write something. This research or study introduces technologies that adults use in their lives to children. If you step back for a minute and think why a 6-year-old needs a gps, or a motion detector. But the beauty of this is that they lean so much by engaging with it. Also we often talk about the purpose of kindergarten or early school to get children life ready, what is a better way to get them ready than giving them the tools that they would be using in the future (or similar tools, my guess is technology would have advanced way too much that this would be outdated) and letting them use it now.

This article is very useful to me as an ECE because it actually opened my mind up. So far I have only thought that apps on iPads or laptops would be useful to me, but the idea of using motion detectors makes me feel excited. Also this article really indicates what the future is going to look like for our field, and we as ECEs need to be comfortable with using these technologies so we can implement this. It might take few years for the entire Canada to catch on to this but my guess is it will happen eventually and couple of years down the road pre-school and kindergarten classes would be equipped with these tools.

As someone who has taken child development for the past two years I am firm believer that children are like sponges. Backed by science and hard-core research we know that children would pick up on things easier earlier in their life compared to later. Introducing these tools to them sets them up for easier time living in a world where technology is so common and crucial. My pedagogy includes that children learn best when they explore things, nature, and their surroundings on their own and as educators our job is to provide them with tools and moral support that foster their learning. As I said before having these kinds of tools available for children  takes their experience of learning to the next level.

I will post the article under the article page if any of you are interested in reading it.

Related readings:

Flexible Pathways to Success: Technology to Design for Diversity

Source image: http://ruthcatchen.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/five-ways-schools-are-using-technology-in-the-classroom-1.jpeg

Source article: http://www.industrymailout.com/Industry/LandingPage.aspx?id=1273856&p=1