Teaching With Technology: Hi-Tech Choices
- Grades: PreK–K
TIP: Selecting Software
As you probably already know, many programs are naturally geared to auditory and visual learners, and individual children will appreciate and interact with the software in their own way. However, it's always important to remember that not all software programs are well designed. Try them before you invite children's use to make sure descriptions of age-appropriate, open-ended learning are accurate and an appeal to particular learning styles rings true to the philosophy of your program.
For Verbal Learners
Dr. Seuss Preschool and Dr. Seuss Kindergarten Ages 2-6. These new programs from Broderbund immerse children in creative, colorful Seussian language. In Dr. Seuss Preschool, children team up with Horton the Elephant as he helps Elma Sue find her mother. Along the way, they have a chance to work at 250 lessons with multiple skill levels. Dr. Seuss Kindergarten playfully introduces early math and reading skills as children, along with Gerald McGrew, collect animals for a Seussian zoo. Broderbund Software, $19.95 per title, Win 95, Win 3.1, Mac OS (CD-ROM), 800-521-6263; www.broderbund.com.
For Kinesthetic Learners
Tonka Workshop CD-ROM Playset Ages 3 and up. The controls of this playset snap onto a standard Windows keyboard (no extra wires or plugs) so children can operate 21 tools. After children build onscreen toy houses, spaceships, and more, the "Tool Olympics" tests tool skills and helps them earn a Master Tool license. Hasbro Interactive, $39.95, Win 95, Win 98 (CD-ROM), 800-683-5847; www hasbro-interactive.com.
For Visual Learners
I Spy CD-ROM Ages 5 and up. The thrill of a scavenger hunt comes to your computer in this CD based on the popular books by Jean Marzollo. The net result is a strong exercise in visual discrimination. Seven play areas feature 1,300 object-and-word searches. Activities include Venn diagram sorting and make-your-own searches. Scholastic New Media, $29.00, Win 95, Win 3.1, Mac OS (CD-ROM), 800-724-6527; www.scholastic.com.
Crayola 3D Castle Creator Ages 4-7. Here's a very special set of blocks children can use to build castles from the 11th to the 17th centuries. Afterward they can explore the castles, learning about the inhabitants, furnishings, and so on. Paper castle components can be printed and assembled. Lots of fun, and a great exercise in spatial relations. IBM Corp., $19.95, Win 95, Win 3.1 (CD-ROM), 800-426-7235; www ibm.com/pc/multimedia.
For Auditory Learners
ScreenDance 98 Ages 4 and up. This innovative program turns your computer into a jukebox with nine screen effects that "react" to the music as it's being played and change accordingly. Insert any music CD and then select a screen effect, such as dancing figures, whirling marbles, a 3-D spectrograph, and so on. Children love to talk, sing, or experiment with sounds using the computer's microphone to see how the screen effect will change. Download a free demonstration from the web site. Madeira Software, Inc., $19.95, Win 95 (CD-ROM), 800-275-6137; www. madeira.com.