Teaching With Technology: Moving Machines
Can Technology Really Support a Child's Physical Development? You Might Be Surprised!
- Grades: PreK–K
WHEN WE THINK OF YOUNG CHILDREN AND TECHNOLOGY, we imagine kids sitting passively in front of a computer screen rather than jumping around, exercising their bodies. While most high-tech activities are passive in nature, there are some that get children up and moving.
Take some of the new smart toys, for example. Thanks to internal sensors that detect motion, the experience of traditional play materials can be enhanced. Here are a few ideas for how you can use technology to spruce up your movement curriculum, arranged by low-tech, mid-tech, and high-tech methods.
MOVE TO THE MUSIC
Get the record player or boom box out of the closet, and start up some albums, cassettes, or CDs. As the music plays, ask children to move to it. Songs like the "Limbo Rock" never fad to inspire children's feet. These affordable devices let you bring different musical styles into your curriculum.
USE A FLASHLIGHT
Shine a flashlight at a wall and invite kids to watch how their shadows move as they dance to music. Attach a white sheet to the ceiling or wall for variety.
HEY, I'M ON TV!
Want a no-fail way to get children moving? Simply point a camcorder at them, and then plug the video stream into a nearby television. This "electronic mirror" lets children see themselves from an external perspective, and adds a new twist to moving.
JUMP 'N' ROLL
Neurosmith's jumbo Music Block (www.neurosmith.com; $59.99) breaks new ground: Kids roll with it, run around it, and jump on top of it, while the large, plush block responds to children's every move. Because you can plug in different music cartridges, you can significantly "change the mood." Another toy, the Leapfrog Learning Drum (www.leapfrog.com; $19.99), flashes and sings letters and numbers as the baby pounds away.
BURNING CDs AND PLAYING BACK QUALITY MUSIC
New advances in digital storage technology (DVDs and CD-Rs) have made it easier for you to bring an entire symphony orchestra into your classroom. Now that most new computers come with CD burners that let you create your own CDs, it is possible to put many of your favorite classroom songs on one CD and have it reliably played back time after time with no loss in quality.
TIP: Nearly every multimedia computer with a CD drive can play music CDs. Take one of your favorites, put it in a drive, and there's a good chance that it will play. If not, just find the CD player program on your hard drive.
IT'S ME INSIDE THE COMPUTER SCREEN!
The Intel Play Me2Cam with Fun Fair (www.intelplay. com; $70) plugs into your computer and creates a digital image of a child, which then appears on the computer monitor, moving down a ski slope or in a room full of bubbles that need to be popped. The child's body becomes the cursor. Keep in mind that you'll want to be fairly comfortable around computers to get it up and running.