By Matt Gomez
Category: iPad, Language Arts, Music, Songs, Symbaloo, Tech, Websites
Another great webmix from Kinderchat! Click the picture to open it or the link below. You do not need an account to use this! (FREE)
I did not like this website at all! I think there is much more fun ways to learn letters than this. In fact, a new study has come out that says this kind of learning is not helpful to kids. For a free download of the document go to http://commercialfreechildhood.org and download the new publication to the right.
LM First Grade Teacher
LM First Grade Teacher, I agree and disagree with you. Yes there are more fun, creative and effective ways to teach letters. If these videos are all you use it is a big problem. That said I don’t think all “screen time” is equal and certainly don’t think we should avoid activities simply because they involve a screen. I have read that article and the NAEYC statement. My feelings are screen time for kids under 2 should be almost non existent. After two it should be used as a thoughtful process. I agree with a quote directly from the statement you mention: “For children over 3, studies show that some exposure to thoughtfully constructed media content can promote pro-social behaviors and contribute to learning, especially when a caring adult is actively involved” Screens should not be avoided or used simply because they are screens. I hope you will take time to read this post on why I find technology important. http://mattbgomez.com/technology-focus-the-learning/ I appreciate you taking the time to comment and pushing back, that leads to great reflection and discussion!
Also this Symbaloo a none threatening way for students who are reluctant or fearful of using tech. there are some I each class! Everything in moderation. Like the cooperative feel of kids helping kids!
I struggle with screen time too, but if we use tech with purpose as Matt does, it helps learners especially visual ones. I show tv shows/read stories during Rest with my kiddos. It turns into a lesson on plot, characters, problem solving, etc. and I can use the SmartBoard to highlight things visually on the show. Something that’s harder to do w a book.
I feel the illustration on the front of the “Facing the Screen Time Dilemma” document (with the toys on the left of the balance and the tablet on the right) demonstrates very well the approach each teacher should take regarding tech tools: balance. I think this webmix is a great support for teachers looking for supplementary ways to help their students with learning letters. Just as Matt has previously commented, only using this webmix would not show the appropriate balance needed, but I don’t feel that is what was suggested when the post was published.
We use these videos in my classroom as a supplement to the scripted program we Have To Use With Fidelity. We use them as we introduce / review the letters. They make great transition tunes and the kids ask for them when we have leftover time at the end of other lessons, too. If I want to use “audio only” I think they are available &/or I can turn the monitor away from the kids…
Very well said Matt and the symbaloo looks FABULOUS!
Tech, along with any tool, introduced to children should be done with intentionality. If you cannot clearly articulate why you are using a tool, then you shouldn’t be using it. This is a much better guideline than blanket statements saying children should never use screens. With thoughtful guidance and exposure, children can learn to choose which tools make sense to them in order to explore, create, and document. I have met many teachers who preach the evils of technology, but then shower their students in worksheets. To me, thoughtful introduction of tech as one tool of many, sure beats that. Intentionality and balance and choice.
I have recently discovered Symbaloo and would like to chime in. My classes are made up of many ELL learners. Having the Symbaloo mixes up on the Smartboard or on our 2 stand alone computers during our literacy block allows my students time to listen and re-listen to letter songs and stories. They chose the activity independently and usually only spend 5-10 minutes at a ‘screen’. If I notice a student there for longer periods of time, I check in and question, and usually re-direct. Many English Language Learners go through a ‘silent phase’ and need repetition and many opportunities to practise before they are comfortable speaking. Having these mixes up allows them to direct their own learning, become familiar and comfortable with the content and often their first words/sentences/phrases come from the songs and rhymes we sing each day. These web mixes are just a part of our learning, and I believe they have added another element to my classroom. Btw the Just Dance mix has made indoor recess far more pleasurable, for both the students, and their teachers! Thank you!
Thanks for sharing Ann-Marie. I have heard similar comments from other teachers with ELL learners.
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